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First Edition - Eojpt&mli&r? 1 Q7 5 
<g) KL.V. Raman 

JRufclisher z Sbialeti IVTaJik: 

Abh inav Publications 
E 37, Hauz Khas 
JST&w JE>e3 iii-1 10016 
JRrirttczr z "Vislaal Printers 

2/34 s Roop Nagar 
3D>el£ii-l 10006 

Dedicated to the generations of kings and 
queens and the humbler folk whose devotion 
and charity have sustained this temple through 
the ages 



Kanchipuram, one of the reputed Muktikshetras, not very far from Madras, is 
probably the best known of all places in South India to the earliest writers. Asoka 
had a stupa built here which Hiuen-Tsang had seen and described. Kanchi was 
famous along with Takshasila, Varanasi, Valabhl, Nalanda and other great centres 
of learning. Patanjali, as early as the 2nd century B.C., gives the word Kanchlpuraka 
to explain a derivation meaning ‘one associated and hailing from Kanchf. The 
famous Talagunda inscription of the Kadarhba king Kakutsthavarman, in tracing the 
origin of the Kadamba family, vividly describes how Mayurasarman, the founder 
of this family, went to Kanchipuram along with his teacher, to give finishing touches 
to his Vedic learning by studying the highest realms of thought in the field, possible 
only in Kanchipuram, at that time, reputed for its famous university, Ghatika . 
Patanjali, the highest intellectual of his time, naturally could only think of a rare 
intellectual centre like Kanchi. We know from one of the famous historical sculp- 
tures in the Vaikunthaperumal temple, narrating the sequence of Pallava history in 
a series of panels, that, when the main line broke and a prince of the collateral line 
was to be elected king, Hiranyavarman was requested to permit his son, Nandivar- 
man, to be made the king. This request was made by the most prominent leaders of 
the people themselves headed by the elders of the University of Kanchi, the Ghatika . 
Hiuen-Tsang, the Chinese traveller that came to Kanchi early in the 7th century 
A.D., has praised the city for its intellectual eminence and its love for learning. It 
is no wonder, since the rulers like Mahendravarman were versatile, prolific in writing 
and great patrons of art and literature. Buddhism and Jainism also flourished and 
Jaina Kanchi is yet an important adjunct of Kanchi. Dharmapala, the great Bud- 
dhist scholar at Nalanda, was from Kanchi. 

There are two great temples that adorn Kanchi today as the most conspicuous, 
the EkamreSvara and Varadaraja. There have been many innovations and additions 
to these temples during the different periods of history. The smaller temples, but 
aesthet ically the most valuable for the study of Pallava art and culture, the Kailasa- 
nfltha, MatangeSvara, AiravateSvara, Vaikunthaperumal, have suffered no change or 
tampering by additions. The Kamakshi temple, a great seat of Devi worship, 
with extraordinary reputation as the seat of the grace of Devi extended to 
the dumb poet Muka who composed the unforgettable honey-sweet verses in a 
bunch of five hundred with a rare lilt and resonance, Muka~PanchasatJ , is another 

x Foreword 

of the famous shrines here. The only portrait of the greatest intellectual of India 
for all time, Sankara, is the sculpture of his in a Pallava temple, Eravanesvara, as a 
juvenile ascetic, seated reverentially beside Vyasa, who along with Jaimini, flanks 
Dakshinamurti, the Lord of Learning. 

Varadaraja, the form of the Lord who showed compassion to the elephant in 
distress, Karivarada, is the most reputed Vishnu temple in KanchTpuram. Varada 
was a favourite of successive kings and philosophers. Ranganatha at Srfrangam, 
Varadaraja at Kanchl and Srinivasa at Tirupati are the three great deities ever 
sought for succour by one and all in general and by the Sr! Vaishnavas in particular. 
Venkatanatha, Vedanta Desika as he is better known, clearly says that his ancestral 
property is the Lord in the c Elephant Hill’, Hastisaila— asti me hastisaildgre pitnpai - 
tatraham dhanam Appayya Dikshita, the polymath philosopher of the 16th century 
who wrote the c Sivdrkamanidipikd\ was so attached to Varada, that he would never 
miss an opportunity to visit Kanchipuram to have his darsana. Infirmity, which 
made it difficult for him to travel too often, made him build a temple for Varada, 
along with that for Siva, Kalakantha, in his village Adayapalam, utilising the gold 
with which he was bathed in a Kanakabhishek a by king Chinnabomma in apprecia- 
tion of the Parimala , the commentary he wrote on Amalananda’s Kalpataru. 

The beautiful mandapa of the Varadaraja temple with its spirited row of horses 
prancing on the pillars and the monkey and the cat running after the pigeons on the 
roofline are unforgettable gems of art. 

This temple has long remained without a proper exposition of its treasures 
both artistic and religious. I am glad that Dr. K.V. Raman has written an excellent 
account of this famous temple discussing its history, epigraphy, ritual, religion, 
philosophy and thought. He has chosen suitable illustrations to visually present its 
importance. I have great pleasure in requesting the discerning scholarly world to 
appreciate this very interesting monograph on a great temple. 

National Museum 
New Delhi 

C. Sivaramamurti 


This book formed the subject matter of my dissertation for the Degree of the Doctor 
of Philosophy of the University of Madras. I am thankful' to the University for 
permitting me to publish the thesis. 

I must acknowledge my gratitude to Dr. K.K. Pillay, formerly Professor of 
Social Science, University of Madras, and now Director, Institute of Traditonal 
Cultures, Madras, for his valuable suggestions and guidance in the preparation of 
thet hesis. I thank the Chief Epigraphist, Archaeological Survey of India, Mysore, 
for giving me access to the originals and transcripts of the inscriptions; the Superin- 
tending Archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India, Southern Circle, Madras 
for lending me some of the photographs illustrated in the book; the Commissioner, 
H.R.&C.E. (Adm.) Department for permitting me to prepare plans and drawings of 
the buildings, besides giving me other facilities. 

I am extremely grateful to Padmashri Shri C. Sivaramamurti, Director, National 
Museum, New Delhi, for kindly going through the book and contributing his 
valuable Foreword. 

My hearty thanks to Shri Shakti Malik of Abhinav Publications, New Delhi, 
for the interest and enthusiasm with which he has brought out this book; to my 
father Shri K.V. Parthasarathi Iyengar for his constant encouragement and Shri 
Murahari Rao for lending me the colour transparency of the cover page; to Sarvashri 
R. Ramani, T. Elumaiai, A J. Nambiraju and K.P. Balakrishnan for all the help 
they did during the preparation of the work. 

Deputy Superintending Archaeologist 
Archaeological Survey of India 
Southern Circle, Madras 

August 1975 


1. A panoramic view of the temple 

2. Anantasaras tank and the temple complex 

3. Attan-Jiyar inscription 

4. Punyakoti-vimana 

5. Mandapa af Andal shrine 

6. Anantalvar shrine 

7. Perundevi Tayar shrine 

8. Sculptured ceiling 

9. Kalyana-mandapa with pillars 

10. Western Gopura 

1 1 . Eastern Gopura 

12. Sculptured doorway of the Eastern Gopura 

13. Lord Varadaraja with consorts 

14. Ananta 

15. Manavala Mahamuni 

1 6. DaSaratha and his queens 

17. Rama shooting the seven trees 

1 8. Vali-Sugriva fight 

1 9. Vlra-Hanuman 

20. Krishna killing Bakasura 

21. Vastrapaharana scene 

22. Krishna as Govardhana-dhari 

23. Kaliya-mardana scene 

24. Varaha with Bhu-devi 

25. Narasimha’s fight with Hiranya 

26. Vishnu as Mohini 

27. Vishnu as Adimurthi 

28. Sarasvati inducing the Vegavati to flood Brahma’s yajna 

29. Varadaraja coming out of fire 

30. Tirumangai-alvar 

3 1 . Tirukkachi*nambi 

32. Sudarsana 

33. Rati and Manmatha 

34. Amorous couple 

35. A jester 

36. Royal Portraits 

37. Raja Todarmal group 

38. Paintings 

39- Ground-Plan of the temple 
40. Architectural details of shrines 





CHAPTER I Location and Physical Features 1 

II Political Background 11 

III The Lay-out of the Temple and Sequence of 

Construction 43 

IV The Role of the Temple in the Growth of 

ari-vaisnnavism 59 

V PQjas and Festivals 95 

VI Functionaries and History of Management 111 

VII The Temple and Society 129 

VIII Architecture 147 

IX Iconography 1 53 

X Painting and Other Arts 175 

APPENDIX Index of Inscriptions 181 


INDEX 195 




Kanchipuram in Lat. 12°50' N, Long. 79°40' E is situated 72 kilometres (45 
miles) from Madras City in a west-south-westerly direction. It is a town of consi- 
derable size (8 kilometres long and 3 kilometres broad on the average) and is now 
the headquarters of Kanchipuram taluk, which forms part of the Chingleput District 
in Madras State. The town is not only large but also pretty, with its long and 
broad roads, lined with closely built houses. The town is well connected to impor- 
tant places on all sides by road or rail. The Grand Western Trunk Road coming 
from Madras runs through it in the south-westerly direction, connecting it with other 
historic towns like Arcot, Vellore, Bangalore and the well-known Vaishnavite centres 
like Sriperumbudur, Tirumalisai and Pundamalli. On the north-east is the road 
that connects it with Arakonam, from where the roads proceed to well-known places 
like Tirupati and Nellore both in the Andhra region. On the south are the two 
small roads cutting across the River Vegavati and going to places like Uttiramerur 
and Madurantakam. On the eastern side a road runs along the northern bank of the 
river connecting Kanchi with Chingleput (about 40 kilometres). Both Chingleput 
and Madurantakam are on the Grand Southern Trunk Road leading to all major 
towns of South India. 

Some of these roads are doubtless laid on the older tracts which connected 
Kanchi with the neighbouring territories. From early times, Kanchi was frequented 
by men hailing from different parts of the country who had come here for study or 
on pilgrimage or for political purposes. Kanchi was in touch with the region lying 
on the west including the Karnataka and Goa. Even the Kadamba king Mayura 
Sarman of the West Coast (Goa) region is said to have entered one of the ghatikds 
at Kanchi as early as the 4th century A.D. 1 Subsequently, the Gangas had friendly 
relations with the Pallavas of Kanchi. Still later in the 13th century the Hoysalas 
came upto Kanchi. About the same time, the later Gangas of Kuvalpura or Kolar 
(on the same road) have visited Kanchi and done many benefactions to the temple 
there. This contact could have been possible by the presence of a highway which, 
in all probability, was on the lines of the present Western Trunk Road. 

The road on the north-east placed Kanchi within the reach of the highways 
leading to the ancient kingdoms of Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas. The frequent 
struggles between the Pallavas of Kanchi and the Chalukyas of Badami and the swift 
movement of their armies to and fro are too well known. Yuan Chuang is also 
said to have journeyed to Kanchi from the Chaluky an territory in the 7th century 
A.D., and he has testified to the fact that the people of Kanchi were highly esteemed 
for learning. Later on, in A.D. 960, the Rashtrakuta king Krishna III invaded 

2 Sri VaradarSjaswami Temple— Kan chi 

Kanchi from the north-west and a famous battle was fought at Takkolam, a place on 
the road between Kanchi and Arkonam. The same road should have served the 
later rulers like the Kakatiyas, the Telugu-Ch5das of Nellore and the Vijayanagar 
army in their entry into Kanchi. 

On the southern side, Kanchi is girdled by the River Palar and its branch, the 
Vegavati. But the roads across the river-bed, traces of which are still seen, gave 
access to places like Madurantakam on the high road to Tiruchirapalli, Thanjavur, 
and other places in the south Tamil country. The Vaishnava literature of the 13th 
century records that Ramanuja, while going to Srlrangam (near TiruchirapaJJi), 
passed through Madurantakam on his way. This route connecting Kanchi and 
Madurantakam is still there. 

The road on the east, leading to Chingleput, should have been an important one 
as it connected Kanchi, the capital, with its port-town, Mahabalipuram, about 53 
kms. away. This seems to be confirmed by the presence of two rock-cut Pallava 
caves on the road— one at Vallam and another at Tirukkalukunram. 

In spite of many changes, the city of Kanchi preserves much of its ancient lay- 
out with its unusually broad streets laid around the numerous old temples standing 
as prominent landmarks of history. Many of the Pallava temples like the Kailasa- 
natha, the Vaikuntaperumal, the Muktesvara and the Matangesvara, not to speak of 
the numerous large temples of later days like the Ekamresvarar and Kamakshi Amman 
temples, are still in good state of preservation. There are still many streets bearing 
the older names such as the Rajavldhi or the king’s way. 

The town of Kanchi has two principal divisions, the ‘Big Kanchi’ and the 
‘Little Kanchi’, which are also called respectively the ‘Siva-Kanchi’ and ‘Vishnu- 
Kanchi’. The former is the bigger division having the group of larger temples like 
the Kailasanatha, Ekamresvarar, Kamakshi Amman and Vaikuntaperumal. The 
‘Little Kanchi’ is on the eastern extremity of the town. It is a compact little village, 
nucleating round the Sri Varadarajaswami temple. The temple- complex comprises of 
a vast rectangular enclosure, occupying an area of about 20 acres in all, with two 
imposing gateways or gopuras on the eastern and the western sides. There are the 
madaridhis (main streets) on the four sides of the temple. The long and broad street, 
opposite the western gateway, known as the sannidhi- street connects the temple with 
the main road that leads to ‘Big Kanchi’ or ‘Siva Kanchi’. 

Physical features 

The land around Kanchi is flat and sloping towards the east. The general 
level of the town is about 250 feet above the mean sea-level. The Palar river rises 
from the hills of the Mysore country and after flowing through North Arcot enters 
the Chingleput District a few miles west of Kanchipuram. 

‘Little Kanchi’ is surrounded by extensive cultivable lands and coconut groves 
on all sides. A view from the topmost storey of the western gopura gives a panora- 
mic vista of the enchanting landscape which is a vast plain area, dotted with a 
number of lakes and ponds, cultivated fields and coconut and other plantations 
(Fig. 1) The River Vegavati, an arm of the Palar, flows by the southern side of the 
temple and joins the River Palar at Tirumukkudal, about 10 miles south-east of 
Kanchi The soil is somewhat clayey, derived from the decomposition of the felspar 

Location and Physical Features 3 

which abounds in granite and is very favourable for cultivation. There is no hill or 
visible rocky outcrop in the vicinity and the nearest hill is the Sivaram hills, about 
10 miles east of Kanchi. This hill which is of granite had possibly served as the 
main quarry that supplied the stones for the construction of this temple. The well- 
known Pallava temples of Kanchi like the Vaikuntaperumaj, Kailasanatha, 
Mukt€svara, Matangesvara etc., are entirely made of sandstone available at Kanchi 
and its vicinity as bed-rock. 2 The extant structures of Sri Varadarajaswami temple, 
however, belong to a much later period and are built of granite stone, probably 
transported from Palaya-Slvaram and the Malappattu hills. The dexterity achieved 
in quarrying and working this hard-stone by the artisans of the Chola and the 
Vijayanagar times is evident in the various shrines, mandapas and gopuras of this 
temple. The temple-complex built of this hard material and in different periods 
presents a picture of solidity and grace. 

Place names and their origins 

The name Vishnu-Kanchi is today applied to the immediate vicinity of this 
temple and upto the Theradi, where the temple car is stationed. Included in this 
locality would also be the temples of Tiruvehka or Yadoktakari and Ashtabhujam, 
besides the Varadaraja temple. It is indeed curious that the majority of the ancient 
Vishnu temples like Vaikun taper umal, Oragam, Padagam, Ulagalandaperumal, 
Nilathingaltundam etc., which have received the encomium (mangaldsasanam) of the 
Alvars, are in the so-called Siva-Kanchi. This shows that the appellations ‘Siva 
Kanchi* and ‘Vishnu Kanchi’ are rather late in origin and the latter name has come 
to be applied to this locality, after the Varadaraja temple became dominant there. 
It is noteworthy in this connection that in none of the works of Ramanuja’s period 
or in the Chola inscriptions, the term Vishnu-Kanchi appears. The name seems to 
have gained currency only during the Vijayanagar times. One of the inscriptions of 
Krishnadeva Raya in our temple is interesting in this connection. When he was 
camping at Kanchi in A.D. 1516, he was met by the representatives of Varadaraja- 
swami and Ekamresvarar temples, who had certain grievances about the routes to be 
taken by their respective temple-chariots. On hearing this, Krishnadeva Raya fixed 
the exact routes of procession for the deities of the two temples. 3 This record gives 
us the impression that probably this was the beginning of the demarcation of the 
Vishnu-Kanchi and Siva-Kanchi. Perhaps, this was the time when the smaller settle- 
ment of Attiyur was expanded to its present size which includes the Tiruvehka 
and Ashtabhujam temples. The earlier name by which the area around Varadaraja- 
swami temple was known was Attiyur, or Tiruvattiyur. This name occurs in the 
verses of Bhudattalvar and subsequent literature and inscriptions. Bhudattalvar, who 
is considered to be one of the earliest of the twelve Alvars, or Vaishnava saints, calls 
the deity of this temple simply but familiarly as ‘Attiyuran’, i.e., ‘the one from 
Attiyur’. 4 After the time of the Alvar and because of his ‘ mangaldsasanam ’ or praise, 
the place became doubly sacred to the Vaishnavas as one of the great divyadesas 
(holy shrines), so that in the Vaishnava literature both of Ramanuja’s time and later, 
the place is called ‘Tiruvattiyur’, the prefix ‘tiru’ meaning ‘sacred’. It is worthy of 
note that the place is mentioned without reference to the parent city of Kanchi or 
Kachi. 5 It was a common practice among the Vaishnava Alvars and the Saivite 

4 Sri VaradarajaswUmi Temple— Kan chi 

Nayanmars to club the name of a suburb with that of the better known jparent town 
in their songs. For instance, both Tirumalisai Alvar and Tirumangai Alvar, while 
referring to Tiruvallikeni, speak of it as ‘Mayilai-Tiruvallikeni, 6 because Mayilai or 
Mylapur was better known as it was an important port-town on the east coast. But 
here, on the other hand, Attiyur is mentioned by Bhudattalvar without reference to the 
adjoining city of Kanchi. It may perhaps indicate that in the early days Attiyur was 
an independent entity, distinctly separate from Kachi proper. Probably, the south- 
easternmost limit of the older Kachi stopped short of the present temple of Tiruvehka 
or Yadoktakari in early times, as attested by the Perumpanarrupadai 7 which is one of 
the Sangam anthologies known as Pattupattu or Ten Idyls. This is evidently because 
Attiyur at that time did not form part of the city of Kanchi Presumably, the out- 
lying villages were brought into its widening fold to form the Greater Kanchi much 

It is interesting in this connection to note that one of the verses of the Tamil 
work Yapparungalavritti , attributed to the 11th century A.D., compares Kanchi city to 
a peacock, Attiyur to its head and the splendid groves to its plumage. 8 But an ins- 
cription of Kulottunga I dated A.D. 1073 refers to this place simply as Tiruvattiyur 
in Eyilnadu in Eyilkottam of Jayankondasolamandalam. 9 Again, an inscription of 
Vikramachola dated A.D. 1127 refers to the place in the same manner (i.e., Eyikott - 
attu Eyilnattu Tiruvattiyur). 10 The inscriptions of later times (13th century) mention 
it as ‘Kanchipurattu Tiruvattiyur’, i.e., ‘Tiruvattiyur, part of Kanchipuram. 11 All 
these would clearly show that Attiyur was a separate village for considerable time 
and its integration with the Kanchi city was gradual. 

Alvar’s references 

The earliest reference to this temple is of course found in Bhudattalvar’s hymns. 
He has devoted two beautiful verses in his Tiruvandadi to this deity and pours out 
his heart to ‘one who resides at Attiyur’. 12 

It is interesting to note that saint Bhudattalvar’s hymns containing the 
references were popular at this temple even as early as A.D. 1129, for an 
inscription of that date mentions the special offerings to ‘Bhudattalvar who 
has sung the praise of the Lord of Tiruvattiyur on his birth asterism. 13 It is rather 
strange that Alvars like Poigai, who was born in Kachi and Tirumalisai who spent 
considerable time in the city (and particularly at Tiruvehka) have not referred to 
the temple at Attiyur. Nor has it been sung by Tirumangai Alvar who has compo- 
sed hymns on even the smaller temples at Kachi like Cragam, Padagam, Tiruvehka, 
besides the ParamSSvara Vinnagaram. One of his verses, however, is taken by 
some scholars to be a probable reference to Sri Varadaraja temple. 14 The verse 
occurs in his hymn padikam on Paramesvara Vinnagaram (i.e., Vaikuntaperumal) 
temple, wherein he describes Kachi as the place where resides ‘the great boon-giver 
and the Lord of the blue colour ( varam tarum mdmani vannan idam Kachi ) But 
here again, the reference is perhaps not specific to the deity of our temple but 
only to the general attributes of Vishnu who resides at Paramesvara Vinnagaram 
with which the Alvar is immediately concerned in this hymn. However, we find 
Tirumangai Alvar’s description echoed by a Chola epigraph at Varadaraja temple 
dated A.D. 1227 which calls the deity Varamtarum perumal , the Lord who bestows 

Location and Physical Features 5 

boons. 16 The same name occurs in an epigraph dated S 1373 (A.D. 145 1). 17 From 
this, we can infer that there was a long and persistent tradition associating 
Tirumangai Alvar’s verse with Lord Varadaraja of Kanchi. 

Derivation of the village name Attiyur 

There are a number of places in Tondaimandalam which are called after the 
names of trees such as Marudur (after the Marudu tree), 18 Navalur (after the Naval 
tree), 19 Panaiyur (aftei the Panai — palmyra tree), Kadambur (after the Kadamba 
tree — Anthocephalus Cadamha ). 20 It may be pointed out here that in South India, 
shrines were erected in places where certain trees were regarded as the abode of the 
deity and worshipped as such; these trees were regarded later on as sthala vrikshas. 
For example, the mango (amra) tree at Ekamresvarar temple at Kanchi and the 
Jambu tree at Jambukesvaram and tillai forest of Chidambaram. Similarly, Attiyur 
is said to be called after or formed under the Atti tree, Ficus Glomerata , commonly 
found in this country particularly on the river-banks. There is a reference in the 
sthala-purana that this place was once full of Atti trees. But, perhaps a better 
reason for this association is that the image of the original deity is said to have been 
made of the Atti tree, and hence called Atti-varadar. At least one old Sanskrit text 
clearly mentions that the main deity of our temple was made of wood and was in a 
standing posture. 21 As wood was subject to deterioration and weathering, the 
wooden deity might have been successively changed until it was finally replaced at 
one time by the present stone image. The wooden image of the deity that was last 
in the sanctum is now preserved in a small mandapa built in the interior 

of the large tank (anantasaras) within the outermost prakara of the temple. The 
image is made of atti wood and called Atti-varadar or Adi-Atti-varadar. It 
is said to have been displaced sometime in the 15th century A.D. Once in 40 years, 
the image is taken out and a special offering called mandala-arddanai is conducted here. 

The association of the atti or udumbara tree with the main deity of this temple 
is significant. It has been prescribed in many of the Silpa and Agama texts as the 
most suitable for making images P Indeed, even the later texts prescribe wood as 
the first material for making the principal images and then only the others, like 
mortar (kadi-sarkara) or painting ( chitra ) and metal and lastly stone. In many 
of the ancient temples the principal images of deities are still wood or 
stucco. For instance, at Tirukkoilur (South Arcot District), the huge image of 
Trivikrama is still of wood. At Kanchi itself the mulavar (primary) deities of the 
ancient temples of Tiruvehka, Ulagalandaperumal and Padagam are still in stucco. 
This clearly shows that installation of images in wood or stucco was the earlier 
practice, which was also followed in our temple. 23 

The atti or udumbara wood is of special importance to the Vaishnavites, as, 
of all the trees, it is viewed as a manifestation of Lord Vishnu himself. The Vishnu 
sahasranama includes Udumbara 1 among the thousand names of Vishnu. 24 

The special preference of the udumbara tree for Vishnu image was in vogue in 
the third or fourth century A.D., as attested by an inscription discovered at Nagar- 
junakonda which refers to the consecration of Ashtabhujaswami (eight-armed Vishnu) 
made of udumbara wood. 25 It is indeed remarkable that this early practice was 
followed in Sri Varadarajaswami temple also. 

6 Sri Varadarajaswdmi Temple — Kanchi 

We do not know when exactly the original wooden deity of Atti-varadar was 
replaced by the present sculpture. The original wooden image seems to have been 
replaced by the present one sometime during the 15th century A.D. An epigraph 
dated S 1409 (A.D. 1487) seems to confirm this. It refers to the reconsecration 
of the images of Lord Varadaraja and Perundevi Tayar in the temple. The money 
for the expenses for the consecration ceremony was contributed by Virupaksha- 
dannayaka, a chief officer under the Vijayanagar king Narasinga Raya. 26 From 
other inscriptions we know that Alagia-manavala Jiyar was the Koil-kelvi of the 
temple at that time. 27 The reconsecration was probably done in connection with 
the installation of the present mulavar-im&gt in the place of the older wooden one. 

Derivation of Hastigiri 

The other name by which the place is popularly called in the Vaishnavite 
literature is Hastigiri or Hastisaila, elephant-hill, said to have been derived from the 
Sanskrit word hastin or elephant. 28 A great peculiarity of the temple is that the 
main shrine of Varadaraja is not on the ground level; but is placed on the top of a 
square platform raised to a height of 10 metres. This high platform is believed to 
represent a hillock, locally designated as the ‘Hastigiri’, the ‘elephant-hill 5 or simply 
as a ‘malai 5 or hill. The hillock on which the temple is supposed to stand was, 
according to the sthala-purana of the temple, the abode of the divine elephant — ■ 
Gajendra, whom the Lord Varadaraja saved from the clutches of a crocodile. 29 This 
association is at least as old as the 11 century A.D. because Kurathalvar, a contem- 
porary and disciple of Ramanuja, calls the deity as ‘Karigirisa 5 i.e , Lord of the 
elephant-hill or ‘Hasti Bhushana 5 , the ornament of the elephant-hill. 30 An 11th 
century stone record mentions the place as Hastipura. Vedanta Desika (13th- 14th 
century) also calls the place Hastigiri, Karigiri in Sanskrit and Velamalai and 
Nagamalai in Tamil ZL A late inscription refers to the deity as Gajendragirinatha i.e., 
‘the God who resides on the elephant-hill 5 . 32 An inscription of 22nd year of 
Gandagopala (circa A.D. 1272) calls the deity of the temple as Dviradachalanatha , 
the God of the elephant mountain, 33 

The Tamil form of Hastigiri viz., Attigiri was also frequently used in Tamil 
poems of Vedanta DSsika and the inscriptions. ‘Attigiri Arulalar 5 is a very familiar 
name used in the epigraphs and literature alike. 

Thus, the etymology of place-name has had a chequered evolution. The simple 
Tamil name of Attiyur, glorified by the Alvar, had to undergo a painful course of 
Sanskritisation to become Hastipura and then Hastigiri and then the latter was again 
tried to be Tamilised as Attigiri l Curiously, the latter word is a hybrid, neither 
purely Sanskrit nor Tamil. Atti is Tamil but giri, meaning hill, is Sanskrit; when the 
word Hastigiri attained popularity in the Vaishnavite literature, the legendary 
story of the elephant was probably tagged on to it because Hasti in Sanskrit means 
elephant. This legend has attained currency so much that the significance of the 
original Tamil word, Attiyur, was lost. 

This is of course not peculiar to Attiyur alone. Several places in Tamilnad 
had almost lost their original Tamil names as the Sanskritised names obtained greater 
currency. To cite only two examples, Kanchipurm was known to the early Tamil 
literature only as Kachi and Kachipedu. But now the Sanskrit form, namely, 

Location and Physical Features 7 

Kaiichipurm has come to stay. 

Similarly, the original Tamil word Mallai which later became Mamallapuram 
was Sanskritised to Mahabalipuram and then the legend of king Mahabali was later 
on dovetailed into it in a most artificial manner. From Attiyiir to Hastigiri, a similar 
metamorphosis has occurred. 

Peramal-koil and Tyaga-mandapa 

Two more names of the places are also found in the Yaishnavite literature. 
One of them is in the usage among the Sri-Vaishnavas while the other is not so well- 
known but found occurring in their literature of the 13th and 14th centuries A.D. 
The former is Perumal-koil and the latter is Tyaga-mandapa . Three most important 
places for the Sri-Vaishnavites are Srirangam, Tirumalai and Kanchi which are 
referred to by them as Koil, Tirumalai and Perumal-koil respectively. The name 
Perumal-koil for referring to the Kanchi temple gained currency evidently after 
Ramanuja’s association with these three temples. The other name, Tyaga-mandapa , 
occurs in the Guruparampara of Pinbalagia Perumal Jiyar (13th century A.D.) and 
the Acharya-Hridayam of Alagia-manavala Nainar (14th century). 34 Hastigiri is 
referred to as Tyaga-mandapa , while Srirangam and Tirumalai are referred to as 
Bhoga-mandapa and Pushpa-mandapa respectively. The exact import of the names 
is not clear, but the name Tyaga-mandapa seems to signify the bountiful grace of 
the Lord. Tyciga means sacrifice or £ to give up’ and Lord Varadaraja as the king 
among boon-bestowers gives up everything for his devotee. Hence, the name Tyaga- 
mandapa . 

The names of the main deties 

The same trend of Sanskrit words gaining greater currency is noticeable in 
the case of the names of the presiding deities as well. In all the early records 
belonging to the Chola times, the presiding deity was popularly known as Tiruvatti- 
yur-Alvar or Attiyur-Alvar 35 or Tiruvattiyurninraruliaperumal 36 — all meaning the 
Lord who presides over Tiruvattiyur. This was in keeping with the practice of the 
times. We can find similar references to the presiding deities of various other well- 
known places. Lord Varaha, the presiding deity of Tiruvida-endai, was known in 
inscriptions as Tirunda-entai-K\vzx , 37 the Lord at Tiruppadagam in Kanchi, who is 
now called Pandava-Thuthar, was called Tiruppadagattu-alvar. 38 Such instances 
can be multiplied. But these clearly show that the presiding deities were named in 
relation to their locality for which invariably the Tamil names used by the Alvars 
were in common usage. Sanskrit names, though known, did not obtain wide 
currency. To give one more example, the reclining Vishnu at Tiruvehka at Kanchi 
was known to the Alvars as Sonnavannam-Seida-PerumaJ and is referred to as such 
in the lithic records. 39 But now the deity is more familiarly known by the Sanskrit 
equivalent Yadoktakdri. Likewise, the name Attiyiir an, used by Bhudattalvar first, 
was subsequently popularly used in the Chola days and hence, the name Attiyur-alvdr. 
But this name gradually disappears in later records, especially in the Vijayanagar 

The other popular Tamil names of the deity which are used in the early as 
well as later records are Arulalapperumal and Pgrarulalar. 40 These terms, it is impor- 

8 Sri Varadarajaswami Tempi e—Kanchi 

tanl to note, are frequently used in the hymns of the Alvars to describe Vishnu and 
His bountiful grace. 41 And , meaning grace or boon and arulalar means the' source of 
all grace’ or the bestower of grace. Another Tamil name conveying the same idea 
and which is mentioned in the inscriptions is varam-tarumperumal , the Lord who 
bestows boons. 42 The Sanskrit equivalent of this name 4 varada ' or 4 Varadaraja ’ 
meaning the king among boon-bestowers is used by the Sanskrit literature of Rama- 
nuja’s time like Kurattalvar’s Varadardjastavam. Another familiar Sanskrit name 
by which he was known was Devaraja — the king of Gods. This name occurs in 
Tirukkachinambi’s work — Devardjastagam. The Tamil equivalents of this used in the 
later inscriptions are : Devapperumal or Thepperumal. 43 The last two names, as well 
as Varadaraja, are very popular now and the original names Attiyur-Alvar or 
Arulalapperumal are hardly known to the common people, though the knowledgeable 
Srivaishnavites know about this. In the Kannada inscription of the Hoysalas, the 
deity is mentioned as Allalanatha, a Kannada form of the name Arulalanatha. 44 
A few later epigraphs refer to the Lord as Srl-Kanchipurattu-perumal , the Lord of 
Kahchi. 45 This shows the great popularity attained by the temple. 

The chief consort of Lord Varadaraja for whom there is a separate shrine 
within the temple is known by the name Perundevi Tayar. The term Tayar in Tamil 
means 'mother’ and is popularly used by the Vaishnavas to denote Sri or 
Lakshmi. The Saivites use the word c amman\ also meaning mother to denote the 
consort of Siva. An inscription dated A.D. 1268 mentions the Tayar by the Tamil 
form Periapirattiydr and another dated A.D. 1487 as Perundeviyar, 46 both meaning 
the 'great or chief consort’ of Vishnu. The word piratti (feminine of piran) is a word 
often used in the Alvar’s hymns and the Vaishnavite commentaries for Vishnu’s 
consorts. The terms like Sita-piratti and Nappinnai- piratti referring respectively to 
Slta and Nappinnai are well known. 

To sum up the foregoing discussion, we find that the ancient name of the place 
where Sri Varadarajaswami temple was situated, was known as Attiyur or Tiruvatti- 
yur as found in the hymns of Bhudattalvar and the earlier Chola inscriptions of the 
temple. The name Vishnu-Kanchi was applied to the locality when it was made a 
bigger unit sometime during the 16th century A.D. The name Attiyur perhaps 
owed its origin to the Atti or udumbara tree which formed the nucleus of the temple 
and the village. The older principal deity of the temple was also of Atti {udumbara) 
wood. It was replaced sometime in the late 15th century. Attiyur was Sanskritised 
into Hastipura and Hastigiri, by which name it is familiar to the Sanskrit works. 
Since Hasti means an elephant in Sanskrit, the elephant-aspect was dovetailed into 
it in the Sthalapurana of the temple. The central elevated enclosure in which the 
main sanctum is placed came to be likened to a hill and it was designated as Hasti- 
giri or elephant-hill. This name occurs in the works of Kurattalvar and Tirukkachi 
Nambi, contemporaries of Ramanuja. Probably, in the earlier days, Attiyur was an 
independent village as it is mentioned in the inscriptions of the 11th century 
without any relation to Kahchi city. But in the later records, it is specifically 
mentioned as forming part of Kahchi city {Kdhchi-nagarattu- Tiruvattiyur ) . 

In the early stone-records in Tamil, the presiding deity is called Attiyur-aivar. 
The other Tamil names used for the deity are Arulalapperumal or Pgrarulalar. But 
sinc&Jthe days of Ramanuja, the names like Varadaraja, Devaraja, Hastigirinatha 

Location and Physical Features 9 

etc., became more popular. The Tamil forms of the latter in DevapperumaJ and 
Tepperumal are also currently popular now. The chief consort of Lord Varadaraja 
is known as Perundevi Tayar or Peria-piratti, both of which occur in inscriptions of 
the 13th century A.D. 

Before we end the chapter, we will briefly review the legends that have grown 
round the temple. As is usual with the many other temples, the Sthalapurdna of the 
temple purports to tell its hoary origin in its own artificial but ingenuous manner 
known as the Hastigiri-mahatmiyam, it is in the form of a dialogue between two 
sages Brighu and Narada. According to it, the temple was the place chosen by 
Brahma to do his yajna and out of it emerged Vishnu in the form of Lord Varada- 
raja, in the Punyakoti-vimana. Brahma requested him to permanently remain in the 
spot to bless His devotees for all time to come. The legend also relates the story of 
Gajendra-moksha and connects the temple with the legend. 

Sri Vedanta Desika (circa A.D. 1269 to 1370) retold the pur ante story in his own 
elaborate and inimitable style in his well-known work Satyavrta-Mahatmiyam or the 
Meivrata-manmiyam. This will go to show that the legend in its full-fledged form 
was already current in his time. The occurrence of names like Hastigiri or Karigiri 
(elephant-hill) in the Sanskrit work Varadarajastavam by Kurattalvar may suggest 
that the nucleus of the legend was current during his time (11th century A.D.). 

It is almost futile to dissect the Sthalapurdna with the weapons of historical 
criticism. It is typical of the Indian way of recording the history of a hoary institu- 
tion like temples by investing them with a divine origin and connecting them with 
the Gods like Brahma and sages like Brighu, Narada etc. These types of stories are 
repeated in the sthalapurdna of many a temple in the same monotonous pattern. 
Their aim was to appeal to faith and not reason. Nevertheless, it cannot be gain- 
said that these legends were quite popular with the devotees through the ages. 
These legends have provided the theme for many devotional poems on the temple, 
like Vedanta Desika’s work already cited, Manavala Mahamuni’s Devaraja-mangalam, 
Appayya Dlkshitar’s Varadarajastavam etc. The legends have inspired a few festi- 
vals that are introduced in the temple and quite a few sculptural compositions found 
in the Kalyana-mandapa of the temple (see Chapter IX). 


1. Ep. Ind. VIII, p. 34. 

2. K.R. Srmivasan, Pallava Architecture , An- 
cient India (New Delhi), Vol. 14. 

3. 644 of 1919. 

4. Iyarpa II Tiruvandadi, verses 95 and 96. 

5. Ramanuja Nujrandadi, verse 3 1 . 

6. Nanmugan Tiruvandadi , verse 35. 

Peria Tirumoli, II Teo, (iii) Tirumoh. 

1. Per ump anarjupada i , verses 2 to 425. 

See Pattupattu, Ed. By U.V. Swaminatha 
Iyer (Madras, 1950), pp. 203-205. 

8. Yapp. 93; M. Raghava Iyengar, Araichi 
Tokudi , Madras, 1964, p. 225. 

9. S.II. IV, No. 862 (49 to 1893). 

10. 436 of 1919. 

11, SJJ. IV, No. 859, 860, 

12. Op. cit. V, 96. 

13. S.IJ. Vol. Ill, No. 80; iC Tiruvattiyur 
Alvarai Padiarulina Sri Bhudattalvar ” — The 
editor has wrongly read that Poigai £lvar 
has also sung about this temple and identi- 
fies Vehka with this temple. It is well 
known that Vehka or Tiruvehka refers to 
Yadoktakari temple of Kanchi and not to 
the Varadaraja temple. 

14. P.B. Annangaracharya : Divya Prabhanda 
Divyaitha Dipikai, Madras, 1927, p. 327. 

15. Peria Tirumoli , II Ten, 9th padikam, 

16. 598 of 1919/ 

17. 645 of 1919. 

18. Termwalia Tomentosa. 

19. Black plum or Eugenia arnottiana. 

10 Sri Varadara. jaswami Temple — Kdnchi 

20. R.P. Sethu Pillai, Drum Perum (1946), p. 
12 ff. 

21. A chapter of 160 Sanskrit verses interpola- 
ted m the”ancient Panchardlra-agama text of 
Jaydkya-samhita. Edited by Embar Krishna- 
machariar, 1931, Baroda. Also see K.V. 
Soundara Rajan, Kausthubha-prdsada New 
Light on Jayakya T antra, in J.O.R. XVH, 
No. I. 

22. T.A.G. Rao : Hindu Iconography , Vol. I, 
Pt. I, pp. 48-49. 

23. K.R. Snnivasan : Some aspects of religion 
as revealed by early monuments and litera- 
ture of the south , J.M.U. XXXII. 

24. Nyagrodo- Udumbarosvastaha SanUranda Nish- 
udanah (v. 88). 

25. Indian Archaeology — A Review , 1958-59, p. 8. 

26. SLTJ. I, 348, 648 of 1919. 

27. See Chapter Y for further details about the 

28. M.E.R. 1893, p. 6. 

29. Vide Chapter II below for further details. 
See Chapter IX also for the significance of 
iconographic concept of Varadaraja or 

30. Varadarajastavam , verses 17 and 81. 

31. Meivrta Manmiyam, verses 20 and 25. 
Adaikkalapathu , verse 3. 

32. 45 of 1893; S.LI. IV, 859. 

33. 41 of 1893; Dvirada means elephant — 
M.E.R. 1893, p. 6. 

34. Acharya-Hr idayam , sutra 84, published with 
commentary by B.M, Purushottama Naidu, 
Madras, 1965, pp. 192-193. 

35. 519 of 1919 (AD. 1050). 

36. S.LL IV, 358 and S.I.TJ. I, 404. 

37. 260 and 261 of 1910. 

38. S.I.TJ., I, No. 435. 

39. 561 of 1919 and also S.I T.U I, P- 423. 

40. 406, 348, 622, 431, 375 etc. of 1919. 

41. Vinaiolithamarar Peruvisumbu aru umlperaru - 
Idlan ( Peria Tirumoli 1-4-4). 

Also Peria Tirumoli 4-3-1, 9-2-7, 9-5-4. 

42 598 of 1919. 

43. S.I.TJ, I, No. 354, pp. 327-328 and 398 of 

44. Ep. Car. 

45. S.I.T.I., I, 359. 

46. S.LI, IV, No. 852. 



The three hundred and fifty inscriptions found in the Varadarajaswami temple 
contain many interesting details regarding the political vicissitudes through which the 
Attiyur village or indeed the city of Kanchi had passed. From them, we know that 
Kanchi city had continuously played a dominant role in the history of Tamilnad and 
that its possession was coveted by successive dynasties of kings, with varying degrees 
of success. Thus, epigraphs belonging to the dynasties like the Chola, the Pandya, 
the Hoysala, the Kakatiya, the Vijayanagar, besides the various smaller dynasties 
like the Telugu-Chodas, the Kadavarayas and the Sambuvarayas clearly indicate the 
eventful variations in the political fortunes of Attiyur and Kanchi. There are also a 
few epigraphs of the post- Vijayanagar period, many of which do not mention the 
reigning dynasty, probably because the political pendulum was swinging too fast. 
One of them, however, belongs to the Nawab of the Carnatic under whose control 
came the Kanchi area in the beginning of the 18th century. 

This chapter explains the political implications of these epigraphs against the 
general background of the history of Kanchi and South India as a whole. These 
epigraphs can indeed be said to epitomise the history of the Tondaimandalam region 
of which Kanchi was the most important city and, for some considerable time, the 
capital. Apart from the light that these inscriptions throw on the broad political 
developments that were taking place, they are of considerable value as they introduce 
to us many little-known nobles, chieftains or officers and their activities. Very 
often, these local leaders had considerable power and influence and extended patron- 
age to the religious institutions and the men of letters. Several kings, queens and 
princes have paid their homage to Kanchi and to the shrine of Perarujala in the 
midst of wars and battles. It is a remarkable fact that this great temple had with- 
stood several stormy political upheavals and come down to us almost unscathed by 
any of them. The reason obviously is that even though several dynasties were 
fighting with one another to have a hold over the Kanchi city, they all had equal 
veneration for the established religious institutions. That is why we find every 
new conqueror or the victor making new grants and donations to this temple. All 
these will be noticed in greater detail in the sequel. 

The inscriptional evidences are quite substantial upto the end of the Vijayanagar 
empire. Subsequent to that period, we have only a few stray epigraphs, the latest 
dated A.D. 1723. Except the latter epigraph, the post-Vijayanagar inscriptions, 
as a rule, omit to mention the ruling king and dynasty. This glaring departure 
from their normal practice of mentioning the ruling king is probably indicative of 
the political uncertainty that prevailed in South India or the Carnatic region as the 

12 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple — Kanchi 

major portion of it came to be called later, consequent on the collapse of the Vijaya- 
nagar empire. Kanchi city also lost its former political importance. Even during 
the reign of Sriranga III, it was only a part of the governorship of Pundamalli, under 
the control of a minor chief— Damarla Venkatappa. In the latter half of 17th century, 
the Kanchi area passed under the control of the Golkonda power and later of the 
Nawabs of the Carnatic under the general control of the Mughal Empire. In the 
same period, the town was occupied by the Mahratta forces under Sivaji for a brief 
period. In the 18th century, during the Carnatic wars, it was the scene of many a 
battle between the French and the English between whom it changed hands in quick 
succession. By 1761, the French ceased to be a political power in the Carnatic and 
the English were in charge of a considerable portion of the present Chingleput 
District including Kanchi and its neighbourhood. From then on, except for a few 
years when Hyder Ali invaded Kanchi, the latter place remained under the de facto 
control of the English East India Company at Madras In 1801, the English formally 
took over the administration of the Carnatic from the Nawab who was pensioned 
off. Sri Varadarajaswami Temple was undoubtedly in existence during the Pallava 
times, as attested by the hymns of Bhudattalvar. But neither the inscription nor 
the architectural vestiges of that period have come down to us except the two lion- 
pillars in sandstone that are to be found on the tank-bund and in the Sudarsana 
shrine. In the last quarter of the 9th century, the Cholas under the dynamic leader- 
ship of Aditya I decisively defeated the Pallavas and the Pandyas and established 
their sway over Tondaimandalam and the Kaveri basin. Aditya’s hold over here is 
well attested by his inscriptions found at Kanchi, Takkolam, Tirukkalukunram and 
other places. The rise of the Chola power to an imperial position and its conflicts 
first with the Rashtrakutas and later with their successors, form the dominant featu- 
res of the history of South India for next 350 years — from 850 to 1200 A.D. Under 
the two brilliant monarchs, Rajaraja the Great and his son Rajendra I (A.D. 
1012-1044), the Chola dominion became extensive including the whole of the modem 
states of Tamilnad (or Madras), Andhra and Kerala, parts of Mysore and the island 
of Ceylon. One important fact to be noted is that in Rajaraja’s reign Tondaimanda- 
lam came to be called Jayamgonda Solaman^alam — after Rajaraja’s own title. 
Kanchi, by virtue of its strategic position, was considered an important city. It was 
a base and perhaps a secondary capital for the Cholas on their northward expansion. 
When the Rashtrakuta king Krishna III made a brief incursion into the Tamil coun- 
try in A.D. 949, he boasted that he had captured Kanchi and Thanjavur (Kachchiyum 
Thanjaiyum konda ). 2 From an epigraph of Uttama Choja, we know that there was a 
palace with a chitramandapa at Kanchi, where probably the durbars were held. 3 
Sundara Chola, while directing his northern campaign, is said to have died in 973 in 
his golden palace at Kanchi. 4 Similarly, Rajendra I stayed at Kanchipuram before 
he set out on a march against the Ratta country. 5 The palace and a mandapa pro- 
bably continued to be there at Kanchi for some considerable time for we again hear 
of itm connection with the Kalmga War during the time of Kulottunga I. 6 

Rajadhiraja I 

Rajendra I was succeeded by Rajadhiraja I (A.D. 1018-1054). His inscription 
dated 32nd year (A.D. 1050) is found on the right wall inside the Narasimha shrine 

Political Background 13 

in the Varadarajaswami temple at Kanchi. 7 It begins with his prasasti ‘Tingalartaru * . 
Rajadhiraja was a great warrior, who personally led the Chola army against the 
Western Chalukyas under Somesvara I and inflicted a heavy blow on them in the 
battle of Koppam in 1052. But unfortunately, he fell fighting on the battle-field. 
Rajadhiraja’s son Rajendra II crowned himself king on the very battle-field of 
Koppam, where he distinguished himself by his bravery and is said to have marched 
to Kolhapur to erect a pillar of victory there. He scored yet another victory over 
the Western Chalukyas at Kudal-Sangamam at the junction of the Tunga and Bhadra 
in Mysore country. As Rajendra’s immediate brother Rajamahendra, who was 
chosen heir-apparent in 1059, died prematurely, his younger brother Virarajendra I 
succeeded to the Chola throne. He ruled from A.D. 1063 to 1069. During his time, the 
Western Chalukya king Vikramaditya and his brother Jayasimha planned to invade 
the Chola country; but Jayakesi, the Kadamba king of Goa, is said to have mediated 
and brought about peace between the Chola and Chalukya at Kanchipuram. The 
Chola also gave his daughter in marriage to Vikramaditya. Vlrarajendra’s another 
daughter was given in marriage to the Ganga prince of Kalinga named Rajaraja. 

Kulottunga I (1070-1120) 

Virarajendra was succeeded by his son Adhirajendra who ruled from 1067 to 
1070 with his father, and only for a few weeks, as sole monarch. After him the 
Choja throne passed on to Kulottunga I, who did not belong to the direct line of 
the Cholas; but he was an Eastern Chalukya prince who had married the daughter 
of the Chola king Rajendra II. He succeeded in occupying the coveted Chola throne, 
despite the attempts of Chalukya king Vikramaditya VI to prevent a union of the 
Vengi and the Chola power in the same hands. During his reign the Chola empire 
became somewhat depleted in extent, for Ceylon which was part of the Chola 
empire till his time asserted its independence; Gangavadi and Vengi also slipped 
out of the Cho]a hands — the former to the Hoysala Vishnuvardhana (A.D. 1111-1141) 
and the latter to the Western Chalukyas. But Kulottunga I exhibited the strength 
of the Chola power by undertaking two successful raids on the Kalinga territory in 
in 1096 and 1110 AD. The second expedition is more famous, for it has 
been immortalised by a Jayangondar, a contemporary Tamil poet, in his famous work 
Kalin gat tupparani. The Chola army was led by Karunakara Tondaiman, a scion 
of the old Pallava family, who now served under the Cholas. The parani has it that 
when Kulottunga held a durbar in his palace at Kanchipuram it was reported to 
him that the Kalinga king Anantavarman was in default of his annual tribute which 
caused the expedition. 9 

It is indeed interesting to note that an epigraph dated 43rd year of Kulottunga I 
in our temple mentions Karunakara Tondaiman and his wife Ajagiyamanavalini- 
mandaiyajvar. He is said to have belonged to Vandalanjeri in TirumaraiyHr nadu 
in Kuldttunga Chola Vajanadu. His wife donated a lamp to the temple. 10 
AlagiyamanavaHni is the name of the consort of Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam 
and the adoption of this name and her gift to this Vishnu temple at Kanchi may 
show us that she was a devotee of Vishnu. 11 

Even though this expedition resulted in the defeat of the king of North Kalinga, 
and brought large booty for the Cholas, it did not result in any permanent occupation 

14 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple— KdHchi 

of Kalinga. 

Five inscriptions of Kulottunga I are found in the Varadarajaswami temple — 
dated from his 3rd year to 45th year. 12 The former is found engraved on the left 
wall of the gopura in front of the Narasimha shrine. It begins with his famous 
prasasti— c Tirumamiivalangu\ which he used in his early records. The later epigraphs 
are found on the gopura-wall in front of the Abhisheka-mandapa. His epigraphs 
are also found in the other temples of Kahchi and its neighbourhood like Pandava- 
perumal temple, Tiruvanekatankapadam temple and Ulagalandaperumal temple. 13 
The epigraph in the last mentioned temple informs us that Kulottunga I visited 
this temple in his 40th year along with his two wives Tribhuvanamudaiyal and 
Solakulavalli. They made donations to that Vishnu temple on the occasion. 14 
The epigraph dated 45th year in our temple records a grant of money at the early 
morning service by Vangamulyur Udaiyan Araiyan Mummudi-Solan alias Anukkap- 
pallavaraiyan of Manninadu in Solamandalam. 15 His titles show that he should 
have been an official of importance. The epithets Pallavaraiyan and Mummudi-Solan 
are significant. We have one Irayiravan Pallavaraiyan alias Mummudi-Solappan, 
a high official of Perundanam rank in the time of Rajaraja I, who had mummudi as 
one of his titles. It is possible that the official of the Kahchi record was a 
descendant or a relative of the official mentioned in the Tanjore record. 16 

Another famous general of Kulottunga I was Naralokavlra, who did substantial 
service to the Varadaraja temple. He was a highly respected official who had a 
large fief at Manavil in North Arcot District, which he perhaps obtained as a 
reward for his distinguished services in the southern campaigns of Kulottunga 
I. 17 His various military exploits on behalf of the Chola king in the Pandyan, 
Vengi and Orissa countries are borne out by a number of inscriptions found at 
Chidambaram and Tiruvadi (in South Arcot) and in the Pandyan country and 
also the Vikramasolan-ula , a Tamil poem composed by Ottakkuttan. 18 He had 
many colourful titles such as Kalingar-kon (chief of Kalingas), Arulakara, 
Ponnambalakkuttan, Tondaiman etc. He did meritorious religious and charitable 
works such as the construction of the hundred-pillared mandapa , the laying out of 
a garden, and fixing of street lights (vidhi-dipa) at the famous Siva temple at Chidam- 
baram; construction of a hundred -pillared mandapa , a dancing hall and other 
structures at Tiruvadi. Similarly, his patronage extended to Varadarajaswami 
temple also. A long Sanskrit record of the temple which bears no date records the 
construction by Naralokavlra of the kitchen-room, a mandapa and the high prakara 
walls and the setting up of the recumbent image of Hari. He made a gift of gold 
pinnacle to this new shrine and made endowment for the perpetual lamps and a 
flower-garden. It is a record couched in beautiful poetic language. Naralokavlra 
continued to serve Vikrama Chola, the son and successor of Kulottunga I. 

Vikrama Chola (A.D. 1118-1135) 

After Kulottunga I, came Vikrama Chola (A.D. 1118-1135), Kulottunga II 
(1133-1150) and Rajaraja II (1146-1173), whose inscriptions are found in this 
temple. The reign of these kings, except that of the first one, was characterised by 
general peace. Vikrama Chola’s reign witnessed expeditions to recover Vengi and 
Gangavadi which the Cholas had lost in the time of Kulottunga I. Vikrama Chola, 

Political Background IS 

as a prince, is said to have participated in theKalinga expedition, led by Karunakara 
Tondaman. He is said to have joined it at Kanchi. His epigraphs, seven in 
number and ranging from his 8th to 17th regnal years, are found on the south and 
north walls of the "Rock 5 , inside the Narasimha shrine and another at the small 
shrine of Kariamanikkavaradar shrine. 19 The latter epigraph records that king 
Vikrama Chola set up the image in the temple and made a gift of land as devadana 
for its daily worship. The image is mentioned as Vikrama-ChoIa-Vinnagar-alvar. 
Though a Saivite, he was liberal to Vishnu temples. His services to the Vishnu 
(Ranganatha) temple, Srirangam, like the construction of the fifth/? rakara and other 
structures are recorded in the Srirangam Koil-olugn. 

Kulottunga II (A.D. 1133-1150) 

Vikrama Choja’s son and successor Kulottunga II is represented m our temple 
by only one epigraph found on the south wall of the ‘Rock’. 20 It is an undated 
epigraph; but the use of the prasasti Pumannu padumam may show that it belonged 
to the first decade of his reign i.e., sometime before A.D. 1143. The reign of 
Kulottunga was marked by peace and prosperity and literary activities. The extent 
of the empire was well-maintained. Some scholars have held that Krimikanta 
Chola, mentioned in the Vaishnava guruparamparai as the persecutor of Ramanuja, 
was Kulottunga II. 21 

Rajaraja II 

The successor of Kulottunga II on the Chola throne was Rajaraja II whose regnal 
years are counted from about A.D. 1146. He is represented in our collection by two 
inscriptions dated in his third and fourth regnal years. 22 The former epigraph begins 
with his prasasti ( pu mariviya tirumddum ’ — which gives a high-flown account of the 
benefits of his rule. The major part of Rajaraja’s reign was peaceful; but the closing 
years witnessed the outbreak of a fierce civil war in the Pandyan kingdom which 
dragged the Chola and the Sinhalese power on opposite sides. The succession 
dispute dragged on till about A.D. 1177, the ultimate result being dreadful to both 
the Chola and the Sinhalese powers for ‘out of the ashes of the civil war arose the 
Pandya power which in its renewed strength soon swallowed up both the kingdoms 
which espoused the rival causes of the Protagonists in the civil war'. 23 

Rajadhiraja II 

He succeeded Rajaraja II and ruled from about A.D. 1163 to 1179. He conti- 
nued the Chola policy of intervention in the Pandyan affairs, successfully drove back 
the Sinhalese and placed V!ra Pandya on the Pandyan throne as against Kulaselchara 
who was found guilty of treachery towards the Chola power. Under him, the extent of 
the Chola empire continued to be the same as under Rajaraja II. His inscriptions 
are found in many places in Tondaimandalam and even at Nellore in the Andhra 
State. His inscription dated 14th year is found engraved on the north wall of the third 
prakdra . 24 It mentions the gift by a Ganga chief named Ghatti-nulamba Bhujabala- 
vira Ahomallarasa. He is described as Mahamandalika of Gangamandala. As 
pointed out by Prof. Nilakanta Sastri, this may show that even a part of the Ganga 
country was included in the Chola empire and that he was a feudatory of Rajadhi- 

16 Sn Varadarafaswami Temple — Kafichi 

raja II, In the reign of the latter’s successor Kulottunga in, another Ganga 
chieftain did service to the temple. 

Kulottunga III (A.D. 1178-1216) 

He has been called the last great Chdla king to enjoy the benefits of an exten- 
sive empire. His was a troublesome period for the Chola empire came to be 
incessantly threatened by disruptive forces from within and the ambitious and newly 
rising powers from outside. Even though Kulottunga III in the early years of his 
reign actively interfered with the Pandyan civil war and put his own candidate, 
Vikrama Pandya, on the throne and later still, could penetrate as far south as Ceylon, 
his last years saw the invasion of his dominion by Maravarman Sundara Pandya, 
the first of a series of powerful Pandyas, who retrieved their kingdom from the 
civil wars and made it the most dominant power in South India in the first half of 
the 1 3th century. The victorious march of the Pandyan forces right upto the heart of 
the Chola kingdom exposed the vulnerability of the Chola power. The Chola monarch 
sought refuge m flight but later on, restored to the throne after some negotiations 
and thanks, in a way, to the intervention of the Hoysaja king Viranarasimha. Added 
to this challenge posed by the rapidly rising Pandyan power was the recalcitrant 
spirit of the numerous feudatories like the Telugu-Chodas, the Kadavarayas and 
the Sambuvarayas who were preparing to break off from the Chola yoke and assume 
their independence. For a brief period, during his reign, the Telugu-Chodas who 
were his vassals tried to declare their independent rule over Kanchi which necessita- 
ted Kulottunga to undertake a campaign and recapture the city. This is attested 
by his Srlrangam record which states that he ‘entered Kanchi with his anger abated’. 25 
More about this temporary loss of Kanchi and its recapture, and about the chequer- 
ed career of the overgrown vassals and their bearings on the history of Kanchi will 
be considered in greater detail later. 

Quite a number of epigraphs of Kulottunga III are found in the Varadaraja- 
swami temple, their dates range from 3rd to 37th year of his reign. 20 They record 
a number of grants to the temple by many of his chieftains and officers. Siyagangan, 
son of Chdlendra Simha, built a shrine at this temple. 27 He was the Ganga chief- 
tain of Kolar (near Mysore) who figures in many inscriptions of Kulottunga. In 
this record, he calls himself as ‘Kuvalalapura-paramesvara’ — ‘Ganga-kulotbhava’, i.e., 
‘the Lord of Kolar’ and e one who was born of the Ganga family’. The significance 
of the Tamil biruda Siraimittapperumdl i.e., the rescuer or saviour from the prison, is 
rather obscure. Incidentally, it is of interest to note that this chieftain Siyagangan 
was the patron of the well-known Tamil grammarian Pavanandi, the author of the 
nannul. These donations and patronage, extended by the Ganga chieftains to the 
temples and poets in Tamilnad, show their friendly attitude to their Chola overlords. 
Another epigraph dated 14th year of Kulottunga III (i.e, A.D. 1191) records a 
gift by one Ilaialvan Kalingarayan of Nettur. 28 Nettur was scene of a battle bet- 
ween Vira Pandya and Kulottunga in which the former was worsted. This battle of 
Nettur took place in A.D. 1189 and our epigraph here is dated in 1191-- two years 
later than the event Kalingarayan might have been a general, who took part in 
the famous battle. The other chieftains who made endowments to the Varadaraja- 
swami temple were ; Ammaiappan Kannudaipperumal aVas Vikramasola Sambuva- 

Political Background 17 

raya, 39 Peddarasar, son of Madurantaka Pottappichchdjar Nallasiddharasan, the 
Telugu-Choda chieftain, 30 Mahabalivanarayar who was probably a Bana chieftain. 
He gave a village named Kulottunga-vilagam free of taxes to the temple 31 Another 
chieftain, probably of Malai-nadu or Kerala named Rajadhiraja Malaiyarayan alias 
Dharmaparipalan son of Munaiyadirayan, one of the malai-mudalis of Kulottunga. 32 
Rajaraja III and Rajendra III 

The reigns of Rajaraja III (A.D. 1216-1246) and Rajendra III (A.D. 1246-1279) 
represent the last phase of the Chola power. The central authority was openly 
defied and finally overthrown by the subordinate vassals as well as the newly rising 
Pandyan power. This period also witnessed the active interference of the Hoysalas, 
who tried to use the internal disunity and weakness to their advantage. Similarly, 
the Kakatiyas of Warangal also found it possible to occupy Kanchipuram for some 
time. Rajaraja III, in particular, was a very weak monarch and during his time the 
Chola power was put to great troubles by its own vassals. Thus, the Pandyas under 
Maravarman Sundara Pandya I (acc. 1216) inflicted a crushing defeat on Rajaraja 
III, who had to abandon his capital. The Sanskrit work Gadyakarndmrta and the 
TiruvSndipuram inscriptions say that while the Chola king was going away from his 
capital with his retinue, the Kadava chieftain Kopperunjinga attacked him and made 
him a prisoner. 33 This shocking news reached the Hoysala king, Vira Narasimha, 
who despatched his army under his able generals, who struck terror in the Kadava 
country and forced Kopperunjinga to release the Chola monarch and restore him to 
the throne. The Hoysala army did not stop with this; it further penetrated into 
the Pandya country and defeated the Pandyas at Mahendramandaiam and went as 
far south as Rameswaram. This gave excellent opportunity for the Hoysalas to give 
effect to their designs of domination over the Tamil country and the Chola country 
virtually became a protectorate of the Hoysalas during the time of Rajaraja III. 34 
More than fifty inscriptions of Rajaraja III ranging from his fifth to twentyninth 
year are found at the Varadarajaswami temple and they clearly show the dominant 
role played by the Hoysalas and the Telugu-Choda chieftains in the Kanchi area. 35 
The presence of the Hoysala troops ( bherundas ) at Kanchi is attested by one of the 
inscriptions dated A.D. 1221. 36 A number of Hoysala generals and officers also 
figure prominently in the epigraphs and they will be reviewed separately. 

The general trends leading to the downfall of the Chola-empire under Rajendra 
III may be summed up here before a review of Kanchi’s association with the various 
dynasties like the Hoysala, the Kakatiyas, and the Telugu-Chodas is taken up. 
Rajendra III was more vigorous than his predecessors and he made a bold bid to 
salvage the reputation of the Choja power by inflicting defeat on the Pandyan king 
Maravarman Sundara II and even made him acknowledge the overlordship of the 
Cholas. The Hoysalas who espoused the Chola cause earlier now supported the 
Pandyas to redress the balance of power. This forced the Chojas to return to their 
allies the Telugu-Chodas for help. They were in active control of the areas 
round Nellore, Cuddappah and also Kanchi. The Telugu-Choda king even assumed 
the title of “Chola-sthapanacharya”, establisher of the Cholas. But with accession 
of the strong Jatavarman Sundara Pandya II in A.D. 12 51, events took a different 
turn. Under the admirable leadership of the great warrior, the Pandyas defeated 
the Cholas under Rajendra III and the Hoysalas under Somgsvara. The latter was 

18 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple— Kanchi 

killed in the battle at Kannanur in A.D. 1264, and his successor Ramanatha who 
came to the rescue of the Cholas was also defeated. Consequently, the Hoysalas were 
compelled to withdraw from the Tamil country, over which they had dominated for 
quite some time. Their power was now confined to the Mysore Plateau. The Choja 
king Rajendra Ill’s latest regnal year was A.D. 1279, which also roughly marks the 
end of the Chola rule in South India. The Chola empire was completely absorbed 
in the Pandyan empire which extended upto Nellore in the north where he performed 
his Virabhisheka. 37 The feudatories of the Cholas ruling over Kanchi now accepted 
the Pandyan overlordship. 

We can now proceed to sketch the fortunes of Kanchi city under various dynas- 
ties who came to importance in the wake of the disintegration of the Chola empir e . 

Hoysalas in Kanchi 

It was already shown how the Hoysalas exploited the disunity prevailing in the 
Tamil country and played a dominant role there as protectors of the Chola power. 
This is illustrated well in the epigraphs at Srs Varadarajaswami temple which mention 
the numerous Hoysala Mahapradhanas , Dandanayakas or commanders and Samantas, 
who probably stayed at Kanchi at this time. The stationing of the Hoysala troops 
probably necessitated their visit to the city. These epigraphs dated between A.D. 
1226 and 1240 i.e , contemporaneous with the reign of Vishnuvardhana Vira Nara- 
simha II and Vira Somesvara. In all these epigraphs the nominal overlordship of 
Rajaraja III Chola is, however, acknowledged. 38 

Thu^pq find Goppayya Dandanayaka, the famous general who along with App- 
annajpd the Hoysala forces victoriously into Tamil country also and subdued Kadava 
Kop^uhjinga and restored Rajaraja III to the Chola throne donating a village to 
Lord vfe^^raja in A.D. 1231. He is described as the son of Mallayya Dandanayaka. 39 
The two other Hoysala generals who gave donations to this temple were Ammanna 
Dandanayaka and Mallappa Dandanayaka — both in the 14th year of Rajaraja III i.e., 
in A.D. 1230 when Vira Narasimha was the Hoysala king. 40 In A.D. 1234, Vira 
Somesvara came to the Hoysala throne and during his time Polavi Dandanayaka, 
Vallaiya Dandanayaka, both ministers, donated cows to the temple in 1235 and 1238 
A.D. 41 The other ministers who made gifts to this temple were Mallappa Dandana- 
yaka and Goppayya Dandanayaka sons of Appayya Dandanayaka. 42 Another general 
Kesava Dandanayaka who is described as the son of Mallayya also gave a grant to 
the temple. This was in the 24th year of Rajaraja III i.e., about A.D. 1240. 43 

The presence of the numerous generals and the Hoysala army in Kanchi clearly 
indicates that this area was virtually under the Hoysala control, though the 
name of Rajaraja III was only nominally or formally mentioned in the epigraphs. 
Even this nominal mention is absent in one undated epigraph at the Varadarajaswami 
temple. 44 It eulogises king Somesvara who descended from the family of Yadus and 
that Devika, born of the Chalukya family, was his chief queen. The reference is 
obviously to the Hoysala king Vira Somesvara who was killed by the Pandya king in 
the battle of Kannanur (A.D. 1264) already referred to. 

Kanchi under the Telugu-Chodas 

Prominent among the quasi-independent feudatories who had held Kanchi city for 

Political Background 19 

a considerable length of time were the Telugn-Chodas of Nellore. The chronology and 
the genealogy of these rulers ^re not free from controversy. They seem to have traced 
their origin far back, including Karikala Chola as one of their ancestors. First, 
they were subordinates of the Chojas and having control probably over portions of 
land near Nellore and Kalahasti or Pottapi (near Chittoor). Hence, some of them 
had the title Pottapi-Chola or Tirukkalattideva. One of their ancestors Beta was a 
feudatory of Vikrama Chola. Beta’s son was Erasiddha who had in turn three sons 
— Manmu Siddha I ( alias Nalla Siddha), Beta II and Tammu Siddha I. 45 They 
held a subordinate position under Kulottunga III. An epigraph of the latter in the 
Varadarajaswami temple at Kahchi mentions a gift by Peddarasa, son of Nalla 
Siddharasan who is given the title Madurantaka Pottapi Ch6]an. 46 But, during 
the closing years of Kulottunga’s reign, Nalla Siddha advanced upon Kahchi and 
captured it for a short time. This necessitated Kulottunga to take a punitive 
expedition against him and recovered Kahchi in A.D. 1196. 47 The Telugu-Chodas 
accepted his suzerainty for some time more. But the coming of the weak monarchs 
Rajaraja III and Rajendra III gave them an excellent opportunity to strengthen their 
hold on Nellore-Kanchi region with a quasi-independence status, owing only nomi- 
nal allegiance to the Choja overlord Even the nominal hold on Kahchi disappeared in 
the time of Rajendra III, whose inscriptions are virtually absent at Kahchi. 

But again in A.D. 1205 we have a record of Tammu Siddha I at Varadaraja- 
swami temple which states that in S 1127, he anointed himself at Nellore and 
presented a village to Hasti Sailesa or Lord of Hasti Hill at Kahchi. 48 

Tikka I alias Tirukkalattideva alias Gandagopala (c. 1223-1250) 

After Nalla Siddha alias Manmu Siddha I came his younger brother Tammu 
Siddha to power in A.D. 1205. His three records are found at Kahchi. His successor 
Tikka I alias Aluntikka-KaloXti I ruled between circa A.D. 1223 and 1250. 49 There 
are nearly twentyhve inscriptions of this chief at Varadarajaswami temple. Most 
of them are dated in the reign of Rajaraja III, whose nominal overlordship is ack- 
nowledged by him. 50 His full name as it occurs in these epigraphs is Madurantaka 
Pottappicholan Tirukkalattideva alias Gandagopalan. In an epigraph dated 
§ 1153 (A.D. 1230) he claims to have captured Kahchi. 61 But, as pointed out by 
Sewel, this “is a mere boast” for the most of his epigraphs he acknowledges the 
Chola suzerainty. 52 However, there are a few epigraphs in which he cites his own 
regnal years as, for example, in an epigraph dated A.D. 1235. 53 From this, it 
appears that his claim to have captured Kahchi was substantially true. He almost 
exercised independent authority in the grant of lands and villages to the 
Arulalapperumal temple. He was an ardent devotee of this temple in which he 
instituted the service called Gandagopalan-sandi (offerings) in the 15th year of Raja- 
raja III (A.D. 1230). 64 In the 17th year of the same king, the chief granted some 
villages for the maintenance of the sandi and conducting repairs to the temple. This 
was repeatedly maintained by grants given year after year. 55 He granted exemption 
of taxes for lands forming the flower-garden of the temple. 56 His several other gifts 
to this temple and other Vaishnavite temples are recorded. 57 His queen Lakshml- 
devi also made many gifts to our temple for maintaining garden, feeding- service etc. 
Lakshmldpyi is described as the daughter of Vira Narasmgadeva, probably the 

20 Sri Varadarajaswdmi Temple — Kdficki 

Yadavaraya chief. 58 Tikka had a number of subordinate officers or mudalis 59 and 
servants 60 and handmaids. 61 He levied taxes on the oil-merchants. Boundary 
stones set up to mark the jurisdiction of lands bore the insignia of Gandagopala. 62 
There was even a street named Ga?idagopalapperunderu* z A village named Ganda- 
gopalan-Chaturvedimangalam is also mentioned. 64 All these show that he was the 
de facto ruler of Kanchi. 

It was during the time of Tikka I that the Hoysajas were becoming strong in 
the Tamil country. The inscriptions describing their dominance at Kanchi noticed 
earlier were dated in this period i.e., between A.D. 1226 and 1240. But later, the 
Telugu-Chodas seem to have asserted themselves and according to the introductory 
verses of Tikkana Somayaji’s Nirvacanottara Ramayanamu , the Telugu-Choda chief 
Tikka I subdued the Hoysala ruler Somesvara and established the Chd|a in his posi- 
tion and earned for himself the title Cholasthdpandcharyd . This is confirmed by a 
Hoysala epigraph dated § 1162 (A.D. 1240) which mentions Somesvara’s expedi- 
tion against Gandagopala. 65 Perhaps, this was one of the reasons why the Hoysalas 
withdrew from the Kanchi area and they are not heard of so frequently in this place 
after A.D. 1240. Tikka I continued to be a Chola feudatory in charge of Kanchi 
until 1249 when Kakatiya Ganapati captured Kanchi, as attested by the presence of 
his epigraph dated in June 8th, 1249. 66 The Telugu-Chodas apparently transferred 
their allegiance to the Kakatiyas. In A.D. 1250 Manma Siddha II succeeded his 
father Tikka I. 67 An inscription at Nandalur makes it clear that Ganapati and 
Manma Siddha were on friendly terms. 68 

Manma Siddha II Vijaya Gandagopala 

His full name as it occurs in the inscription is Tribhuvanachakravarthi Vijaya 
Gandagopaladeva. He called himself the Lord of Kanchi. His rule[commenced in A.D. 
1250 and he seems to have been “practically, if not actually, independent”. 69 But his 
rule between 1250 and 1291 witnessed crucial developments. Kanchi changed hands 
in rapid succession among the Telugu-Chodas, the Kakatiyas, the Kadava Kopper- 
unjinga and Pandyas. But the change of rule often meant only the de jure change 
of the overlords. Vijaya Gandagopala seems to have continued as the local chieftain 
directly in charge of Kaftchi. His reign was coeval with RajSndra III, Jatavarman 
Sundara-Pandya, Kopperunjinga and Kakatiya Ganapati. His epigraphs numbering 
above 20 and issued in his own regnal years ranging from 2nd to 31st year are 
found in the Varadarajaswami temple i.e., between 1253 and 1291. 70 But this long 
rule was frequently interrupted by external intrusions. For example, Kopperunjinga 
is recognised as the ruler of Kanchi in A.D. 1253-1254 and again in May 1257 and 
once again in 1260. 7i Curiously, in the same years, Vijaya-Gandagopala is also 
recognised as the ruler. 72 This may not only show the rapid changes in the political 
fortunes of Kanchi but also perhaps show that at one time the rival kings were 
“severally supported by their adherents”. 73 Another important feature during this 
time was the rising power of the Pandyas, who superseded the Choi as and penetra- 
ted into the Tondaimandalam, A number of inscriptions of Jatavarman II are found in 
Chingleput district dated A.D. 1258 and 1259. In 1260, he overran Vijayaganda- 
gopala’s territory and marched as far as Nellore where he performed his vlrabhisheka . 74 
He anointed himself at Kanchi also. His inscriptions dated in A.D. 1256 and 

Political Background 21 

1266 are found in the Varadarajaswami temple and these will be reviewed in a later 
context. We do not have a clear idea about Vijayagandagopala’s position vis-a-vis 
the Pandyan king. Probably, he now functioned as the latter’s feudatory. But we 
find the Telugu-Choda’s inscriptions continuously issued in his own regnal years right 
upto A.D. 1291 and several of them are found in the Varadarajaswami temple. 75 

Like Tikka, Tribhuvanachakravarthi Vijaya Gandagopala had his subordinate 
officers. One of them was Nalla Siddharasan who figures with high sounding titles 
in an epigraph at Varadarajaswami temple. 76 It records a donation of a number of 
villages for instituting a service called Rahuttarayan-Sandi called after the donor who 
bears titles like Pallava-kulatilaka, Rajaparamesvara, Mukkandi Kaduvettivamsa- 
vatara, while the title Rahuttarayan might show that he was ‘the lord of the horse- 
men’, his other titles may suggest that he was a Telugu-Pallava. 77 Another epigraph 
in the same temple clearly refers to his Nalla Siddha as subordinate to Vijaya Ganda- 
gopala. 78 One interesting fact, that has come to light from the inscriptions of 
this chief at Kafichi, is that a number of Nayakas evidently chieftains from Malai- 
mandalam, figure frequently as donors to the Varadarajaswami temple. Thus, we 
have the grants of Srikumaran, a member of Nayakanmar of Malaimandalam in 
A.D. 1254, two other Nayakas in A.D. 1257 and 1265 and another Ramanakkan 
Nayaka of Malaimandalam in 1271. 79 Malaimandalam is evidently a reference to 
Malainadu or the hilly tract of the West Coast. 80 We know that Jatavarman Sun- 
dara the great Pandyan king invaded Malainadu and defeated the Chera king. It is 
possible that many of the military chiefs or nayakas from the Chera country accom- 
panied the Pandyan army in its campaign in Tondaimandalara. It is interesting to 
note in this connection that there is a street named Malayaja-street in Vishnu-Kanchi. 
Probably, some of the Nayakas and merchants of Malayaja-desa or Malaimanda- 
lam had settled here. 

Vira Gandagopala 

The next Telugu-Choda chieftain who figures in our inscriptions is one Vira 
Gandagopala who is identified by Sewel as Manmu Siddha III. 81 His accession took 
place sometime late in A.D. 1290 or beginning of 1291. He is represented by only 
one epigraph dated in his 3rd regnal year corresponding to A.D. 1294. 82 His inscrip- 
tions immediately after this are not found at Kanchi. Perhaps he had lost hold of 
the city and regained it in A.D. 1297 when he ruled as a vassal of Kakatiya king 
Prataparudradeva II. 83 

Kadava Kopperufijinga at Kanchi 

Another important feudatory power which shot into prominence in the 13th 
century was the Kadavaraya family, claiming descent from the ancient Pallava 
family. It was working its way up from the days of Vikramachoja. But it was 
under Kopperufijinga (circa 1229-1278), the Kadava power rose to a position of an 
independent power, though only for a short time. Kopperufijinga was in charge of 
the South Arcot region with his capital at Sendamangalam. As pointed out earlier, 
he utilised the weak rule of Rajaraja III to strengthen himself. When the Pandya 
king Maravarman Sundara I invaded the Chola empire and defeated its king 
Rajaraja III, Kopperufijinga rebelled against his overlord and even took him a cap- 

22 Sri Varadara jaswdmi Temple — Kanchi 

tive and only released him due to Hoysaja invasion of the Kadava country. The 
defeat of Kopperuhjinga at the hands of the Hoysala Narasimha in 1230-1231 curbed 
the Kadava’s ambition only temporarily. He acknowledged the Choja overlordship 
perhaps only upto the year A.D. 1243; from that year onwards, his inscriptions are 
recorded in his own regnal years which might mean that he became more or less an 
independent power. 84 Later on, Kopperuhjinga scored a victory over Somesvara 
and then went upto Kanchi, which was then under the control of Kakatiya Ganapati 
and his feudatory Vijayagandagopala. This Kanchi expedition took place sometime 
around 1253 as an inscription of Kopperuhjinga of that date is found at Varadaraja- 
swami temple, Kanchi. 85 His other inscriptions at the temple are dated in his 1 1th, 
12th. 15th, 18th, 19th and 20th years i e., dates ranging from 1253 to 1262 A.D. 86 
He is called in all these inscriptions as ‘Sakalabhuvanachakravartinh In this 
expedition, he was helped by his son Kadavan Kumaran who is eulogised as the 
Lord of Mallai, Mayilai, Kanchi and Tundahanadu (Tondaimandalam). 87 

But Kopperunjinga’s sway over Tondaimandalam was ended by the strong Jata- 
varman Sundara Pandya I, who decisively defeated him after A.D. 1264. From then 
Kopperuhjinga became a subordinate ally of the Pandyan king and even assisted him 
in his expedition to the north. With the death of Kopperuhjinga, the Kadava 
power, for all practical purposes, ceased to be a force. 88 

His inscriptions mention two NUagangarayans, one Kodakkon Nilagangarayan 
and another Arunagiri Perumal Nilagangarayan son of Panchanadivanan Nilaganga- 
rayan and their gifts to the Vaiadarajaswami temple. 89 They were probably local 
officers or agents. Another Nayak’s (of Malaimandalam) gift is recorded in an 
inscription. 90 

Eastern Ganga interlude at Kanchi 

The two inscriptions mentioning gifts by the Ganga king Anangabhima III and 
his queen Somaladevi Mahadevi to Arujalapperumal temple are interesting. 91 One 
of them is dated the 19th year of the reign of Anantavarma Mahita-deva of the 
Ganga family (i.e., Anangabhima III). The date of this inscription corresponds to 
A.D 1230. It records a gift of the village Udaiyakamam in Anantarudra-Vishaya 
by Somaladevi Mahadevi for offerings and worship to God Allalanatha while she was 
at Abhinava-varanasi, the modern Cuttack in Orissa which was the capital of the 
Eastern Gangas The second inscription records a gift of 128 cows and four bulls 
by the same king and dated in the 20th year of Rajaraja III, which corresponds to 
A.D. 1235. Regarding the latter inscription, there is no controversy. But the first 
inscription dated in the regnal year of the Ganga king has led Dr. Mahalingam to 
postulate an intrusion of the Eastern Ganga forces into Tamilnad. 92 According to 
him, the Eastern Ganga aimy entered Kahchipuram and occupied it for a short time 
and was later driven out by the Hoysala Narasimha II. He tries to identify the 
foreign troops (mlechchadesa) that helped the Kadava during his attack on Rajaraja 
III as the Eastern Ganga forces. Later on, according to him, the Eastern Ganga 
forces were driven out by the Hoysala king Vlra Narasimha, who claims, in his 
epigraphs that he pursued the “Trikalinga” forces which he identifies with the Eas- 
tern Ganga forces. In another inscription at Kanchi itself mention is made of Vira 
Narasimha’s invasion and uprooting of the Magara kingdom (M agar a-raj yam nirmu - 

Political Backgrourd 23 

lya ), his setting up of the Ch5la king who had sought his protection and his station- 
ing at Kahchipuram of the army of the bherundas (probably a regiment) for uproot- 
ing the evil-doers (dushtanirmulam artham tatra bherunda varggam sthapayitva). He 
thinks that the dushta element at Kahchipuram was none other than the Trikalinga 
army. All this, he believes, occurred in A.D. 1230. 93 But Dr. Sircar does not agree 
with this view and states that the Eastern Ganga army could not have penetrated 
as far south as Kanchi without conquering thousands of square miles of the Kaka- 
tiya territory that lay north of the Choi a territory and there is absolutely no proof 
to show that Anangabhima III was ever engaged in a successful war with Ganapati. 
He also states that Hoysala Vira Narasimha II was in possession of Kanchi even in 
March 1229 A.D., whereas the Eastern Ganga inscription is dated A.D. 1230. He 
says that it is thus very difficult to believe that the place was occupied by the army 
of Anangabhima III in 1230 A.D. He thinks that the Hoysala’s claim against 
Trikalinga forces may be as empty a boast as his other claim regarding the conquest 
of the Vmdhyan region. Dr. Sircar further surmises that Somaladevi, the wife of 
the Eastern Ganga king, was probably the sister or daughter of the Choi a king Raja- 
raja III through a Hoysala princess and hence, the presence of the Eastern Ganga 
inscription recording a pious gift does not imply any political conquest. 94 

Kanchi under the Pandyas 

It was shown that the Pandyan power under the great warrior Jatavarman Sun- 
dara I launched on an ambitious policy of expansion which met with splendid success. 
He defeated the Chola king Rajendra III, Hoysala power under Somesvara, Kadava 
Kopperunjinga, TelugmChoda Vijayagandagopala and the Kakatiya Ganapati 
(both of whom he killed). He performed his 4 vfrabhishekc C at Nellore and Kanchi 
became his second capital. 95 He gloried the new conquests by assuming titles 
Kanchlpura-Varadhlsvara and Kahchipuram Kondan . 96 The erstwhile feudatories of 
the Cholas now transferred their allegiance to their new master. The Pandyan 
sway over Kanchi is well attested by their inscriptions found in the temples of 
Kanchi. Thus, Jatavarman Sundara Pandya’s inscriptions dated in his 5th and 15th 
(i.e., A.D. 1256-12 66) regnal years are found in Sri Varadarajaswami temple. 97 One 
of them, a grant to the temple by Soliyadaraiyan of Uttamapandyanallur in Pandya- 
nadu 98 while another records a gift by Madhusudan Apatsahayan alias Ramachand- 
radeva from Sermadevi in Pandimandalam." He was probably a military officer or 
chieftain and hence, the village gifted by him was named after himself as 
Apatsahay anallur . 

The next Pandyan king represented in the inscriptions of the Varadarajaswami 
temple is Jatavarman Vira Pandya in his 8th regnal year, which may correspond to 
A.D. 1261. 100 Probably, he was co-regent with Jatavarman Sundara for some time 
and succeeded him later. 101 

But, at the same time, we cannot say that the Pandyan control of the territory 
around Kanchi was by any means firm. This is clearly seen in the existence of 
many inscriptions issued in Telugu-Choda chieftains. To cite a few examples, we 
have inscription of Manmu Siddha II Vijayagandagopala from 1265 to 1291 at 
Varadarajaswami temple, 102 though an inscription of Jatavarman Sundara II is found 
as far north as Cuddapah in 1286. 103 Probably, this means that the Telugu-Chddas 

24 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple— Kanchi 

continued to be the local rulers under the nominal overlordship of the Pandyas. 
This Pandyan hegemony over the Tondaimandalam region continued for three more 
years as attested by the provenance of the inscriptions of Maravarman Kulasekhara 
I (1268-1308), Jatavarman Sundara Pandya II (acc. 1276), Maravarman Vikrama 
Pandya (acc. 1283). 101 But their hold could not last long because of the civil war 
in their own ranks. After the death of Kulasekhara I in about 1308, a civil war 
broke out between the latter’s sons Vira Pandya and Sundara Pandya, the two rival 
claimants to the throne. Having suffered a defeat at the hands of Vira Pandya, 
Sundara invoked the aid of Malik Kafur the general of Allauddin Khilji who was 
only too ready to seize such an opportunity. He had already conquered the Yadava 
kingdom of Dgvagiri and the Kakatiya kingdom of Warangal and was advancing 
towards the Hoysala country and now was a chance for him to enter further south 
and conquer the extensive Pandyan kingdom. 105 Malik Kafur invaded the Tamil 
country in A.D. 1310, went right upto Madurai and raided many cities and temples, 
including those of Kanchi and Srirangam on his way, resulting in plunder and 
desecration. 106 This invasion was at best a military raid which did not lead to any 
permanent conquest. It made the political confusion more confounded in South 
India. In the state of confusion to which South India had now been brought, the 
way lay open for any strong ruler to increase his strength by conquest. 

Chera King at Kanchi 

This opportune moment was seized by the Chera king Ravivarman Kulasekhara, 
who in the words of his epigraph at Kanchi * ‘vanquished the Keralas, the Pandyas and 
Cholas and having driven the enemy Vira-Pandya and having conquered the northern 
region, entered Kanchi”. 107 This inscription which is at the Varadarajaswami temple 
states that he performed the second coronation on the banks of the River Vegavati at 
Kanchi in his 46th regnal year (i.e., A.D. 1312-1313) and on the occasion gave gifts 
to the Arulalappermal temple. He calls himself as Vegavatinatha or the Lord of 
the Vegavati. His first coronation took place in A.D. 1309. His inscriptions found 
at Pundamalli and Tiruvadi in South Arcot go to confirm his conquests. 108 

Kakatiya Prataparudra II at Kanchi, A.D. 1316 

But Ravivarman Kulasekhara’s hold over Kanchi was only short-lived. The 
Kakatiya power under the dynamic king Prataparudra II recovered from Malik 
Kafuris attacks earlier and marched southwards. The Kakatiya army under the 
command of Muppidi Nayaka marched to Kanchi, and captured the city in A.D. 
1316. An inscription of that date belonging to Prataparudra at the Varadarajaswami 
temple states that the general came to Kanchi and installed certain Manavlra as 
the governor and granted the revenues of the two villages to Arujalapperumal which 
amounted to 1002 Gandagopala-madai , the Telugu-Choda coin that was still current 
at Kanchi at that time. 109 The Kakatiya power penetrated further south and 
probably in alliance with the Hoysala power, defeated and reduced the last rem- 
nants of the Pandyan power. Prataparudra’s inscription found at Srirangam 
commemorates his victory over the Pancha Pandyas or the Five Pandyas. 110 

The Muslim invasions and Ballala III, the Hoysala King 

. Nothing is heard of this Manavira subsequently; nor is it clearly known how 

Political Background 25 

long the Kakatiya overlordship of Kanchi continued. Probably, political uncertainty 
that prevailed in this region and indeed in Tamilnad was further aggravated by 
another Muslim invasion in A.D. 1327. This time the army of Muhammad Bin 
Tuglak after overcoming the Deccan marched against the Hoysala capital 
Dwarasamudra and caused considerable damage and marched further south and 
captured Madurai ‘This led in the first instance to the establishment of a garrison 
in Madurai and later to the creation of a Sultanate there’. This rule, which was 
marked by oppression, lasted to about A.D. 1371. But meanwhile, Ballal a III, 
the Hoysala king, vacated the capital Dwarasamudra and settled at Tiruvannamalai 
sometime in A D. 1328. From there, he was operating against the Madura Sultans. 
In A.D. 1335, Jalal-ud-din revolted against his Delhi overlord and set up his 
independence. This estrangement between the Muslim powers was taken advantage 
of by the Hoysala king Ballala III who strengthened himself in the South Arcot- 
Coimbatore region. It was during this time probably the Hoysala made a short 
visit to Kanchi. His inscription at Varadarajaswami temple dated in A.D. 1335 
mentions that Vira-Vallabadeva was camping at Kanchi and that his minister or chief 
Kampayya Dannayaka made a grant to the temple. 111 Another undated epigraph 
records that the Hoysala king and his queens visited this temple where they were 
seated on a throne called (after the king) Vira-Vallaladevan and under the canopy 
called Ariyannavcillalan . 112 These inscriptions would clearly indicate that Ballala’s 
sway extended however briefly to the Kanchi region. The years between A.D. 1335 
and 1342 were of great activity for Ballala in consolidating the Hoysala hold and 
making it a bulwark of attack on the Muslim power of Madurai. With the huge 
army he encamped at Tiruchirappalli and fought a battle with the Muslim powers. 
But in spite of initial successes, this battle proved disastrous for Ballala who was 
first taken prisoner and later killed mercilessly in A.D. 1342. The Hoysala power 
did not recover from this blow. It survived for a year more under Ballala IV and 
later about A.D. 1346 was overrun by the victorious Vijayanagar power. 113 

Kanchi under Sambuvarayas 

The Sambuvarayas were originally chieftains under the Cholas who were powerful 
in some portions of the North Arcot and Chingleput regions. As far as Kanchi 
was concerned they could not make much headway towards it so long as the Telugu- 
Chodas were in control of it. During the time of Kulottunga III, one of them 
Ammaiappan Kunnudaipperumal alias Vikrama Choi a Sambuvarayan figures as a 
donor to the temple of Varadarajaswami. 114 Later, in A.D. 1247 during the time of 
Rajaraja III, another chieftain Viraperumal Edirili Chola Sambuvarayan alias 
Rajaraja Sambuvarayan donated lands for worship and offerings. He instituted a 
service, Alappirandan-Sandi named after his title. 115 All these attest to their subor- 
dinate position. But, later we have an inscription issued in the name of Champa, 
son of Vira-Chola and dated A.D. 1314. Probably, he was Vira-Champaraya alias 
Sambuvaraya who figures in the inscriptions in North Arcot as a subordinate of the 
new conqueror Jatavarman Sundara Pandya. 116 Subsequently, when the Pandyan and 
the Telugu-Choda and Hoysala powers were on the decline in Tondaimandalam the 
Sambuvaraya chiefs were in charge of the area till they were overrun by the 
Vijayanagar power. Two of them viz., Venrumankonda Sambuvaraya (acc. A.D. 

26 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple— Kmchi 

1322) and Rajanarayana Sambuvaraya (acc. A.D. 1337) ruled independently. The 
latter’s inscriptions dated in 7th and 14th regnal years are found in our temple. 117 

Kanchi under the Vijayanagar rule 

Meanwhile, the newly rising Vijayanagar power was making rapid strides. The 
Udayagiri-rajya, one of the provinces of the kingdom, bordered on the Tondai- 
mandalam region. That province was under Sayana-Udaiyar, the son of Kampana I 
in S 1273 (A.D. 1352). 118 A few of his inscriptions are found in Kanchi and also the 
area north of it. 119 This marks the slow beginning of the spread of the Vijayanagar 
authority in the Tamil country. This extension of the Vijayanagar power was well 
established after the brilliant victory scored by Kumara Kampana, the son of Bukka, 
over the Sambuvaraya and the capture of his fort at Rajagambhiram in A.D. 1361. 
He entered Kanchi triumphantly and proceeded further south and crushed the 
Sultanate of Madurai. The conquest of Madurai and Kampana’s triumphal march 
formed the theme for an epic poem Madura vJjayam by his wife Gangadevi. 120 As 
symbolic of the revival of the Hindu power, the image of Ranganatha at Srirangam, 
which had been removed for safety earlier, was reinstalled. In his southern 
campaign, Kampana was ably assisted by two generals Gopanna and Saluva Mangu. 
The latter figures in two inscriptions at Varadarajaswami temple, one of which 
mentions that his pradkani or chief Pettarasan was authorised to levy certain 
taxes. 121 Kampana’s inscription dated A.D. 1364 is found at the Kailasanatha 
temple at Kanchi where he reinstated worship which was abandoned since long. 122 
His inscription dated S 1288 (A.D. 1367) is found at the Varadarajaswami temple. 123 
Many more of his epigraphs are found in other parts of Tamil country like 
Chingleput, South Arcot District. 124 Kampana II died in A.D. 1374 while his father 
Bukka I continued to rule till 1377. The latter was succeeded by his son Harihara 
II who ruled from 1377 to 1404. 

Harihara II (A.D. 1377-1404) 

His authority extended to a considerable portion of South India including the 
Mysore and the whole of the Tamil country. Four of his inscriptions are found in 
our temple at Kanchi. Two of them are dated S 1300 (A.D. 1378). 125 Another 
dated S 1325 (A.D. 1403) informs us that the Tondaimandalam region continued 
to be called Jayaxngondasolamandalam, a name given to it in the time of 
Rajaraja L 120 Another records his grant of a village to a Vaishnava matha in our 
temple. 127 

After Harihara s death, in about A.D. 1404, there was a succession dispute 
between his surviving sons. Virupaksha I first succeeded m securing the throne between 
A.D. 1404 and 1405. In his time, according to Nuniz, ‘Coromandel’ rebelled against 
the Vijayanagar authority and Virupaksha had to re-conquer the provinces of Tundira 
(Tondaimandalam), the Chola and Pandyas. This account of Nuniz is confirmed 
by other sources also. 128 But VirQpaksha’s rule was soon cut short by his brother 
Bukka II who ejected him and ruled the kingdom between A.D. 1405 and 1406. 
After him, his brother DSvaraya I became the king and ruled till 1422. The 
inscriptions of all the three brothers are found in the District of Chingleput, though 
none at Varadarajaswami temple. 

Political Background 27 

The next Vijayanagar ruler Devaraya II ruled between A.D. 1422 to 1446. His 
authority spread far and wide. Razak and Nuniz, two contemporary writers, 
testify to the fact that Devaraya was supreme over the whole of South India and 
that his dominion even spread to Quilon and Ceylon in the South. But his 
relations with the kingdoms of Orissa and Bahmini continued to be hostile. His 
inscriptions have been found in the neighbourhood of Kahchi, though none in our 
temple. 129 There is some ground to suspect that Kanchi city was temporarily 
captured by the Velama chieftain Vasantaraya whose inscription is found in our 

Velama Intrusion 

During the early years of the reign of DSvaraya II, the Velama Nayaks remained 
friendly. When Bahmini Sultan Ahmad Shah declared war on Vijayanagar about A.D. 
1424, the latter under Devaraya obtained considerable help from them. The Nayak 
Anapota II promptly despatched his forces to the battle-field under Linga. But due 
to some reasons which are not clear, he withdrew the help in the middle. This 
allegedly treacherous conduct prompted the Vijayanagar king Devaraya II to send 
help to the Reddis of Rajamundry in their fight against the Velama general Linga. 
This widened the gap between the Vijayanagar and the Velama power. Thereafter, 
Linga made a series of attacks on the different portions of the Vijayanagar empire 
like Nagarjunakonda, Kondavidu etc. He also directed his attention towards south, 
subdued Nellore chieftain and even came as far as Kanchi. An inscription of 
A.D. 1437 which registers a gift of two Dwarapala images to Arulalapperumal temple 
of Kanchi by Recerla Vasantaraya, son of Anapota II and the younger brother of 
Singa III alias Sarvajna points to the presence of Velama forces in the neighbour- 
hood of the city. 130 

Devaraya II was succeeded by Vijaya Raya II (1446-47) and shortly after, by his 
son, Mallikarjuna, who ruled between 1447 and 1465. The period of Mallikarjuna’s 
rule was one of great difficulty for the Vijayanagar empire as it came to be threatened 
by the combined forces of the Bahmini king, Muhammad II and the Orissa king, 
KapilSsvara Gajapati. The Vijayanagar armies were defeated and important forts 
of Kondavidu, Vinukonda and Addanki were captured. The Orissa army under 
Hamavira assisted by Kapilesvara, marched into the southern regions as well, 
in A.D. 1463. It captured important places like Udayagiri, Chandragiri, 
Padaivldu, Kahchi, Tiruvarur and Tiruchirappalli. 131 The expedition was a grand 
success. But the conquering force was compelled to retrace its steps within two 
years. The Oriya expedition of the South was thus only a sudden raid which 
disappeared as quickly as it came, so that we find Mallikarjuna’s rule being recognis- 
ed again in Tondaimandalam in A.D. 1465. There is one inscription of Mallikarju- 
nadeva at Varadaraja temple dated A.D. 1465. 132 

After Mallikarjuna, the Vijayanagar throne passed on to his cousin Virupaksha 
II, who ruled between A.D. 1465-1485. His inscriptions dated A.D. 1467 and 1471 
are found at Kanchi. 133 

The former epigraph informs us that there was a Padaiparru or military station 
of the Vijayanagar army at Tepperumalnallur, near Kanchi. According to this 
epigraph the village Tepperumalnallur (called after Tepperumal i.e., Devapperumal, 

28 Sri Varadardjaswdmi Temple— Kanchi 

another name of Lord Varadaraja), as Padaiparru. It was evidently a military 
station or cantonment where the Vijayanagar forces were stationed. 

The Gajapatis of Orissa rose up again to threaten the Vijayanagar empire. They 
marched southward along the Coromandel Coast as far as Kanchipuram. 134 It was 
at this critical time that the Vijayanagar empire was saved by the Saluva Narasimha, 
the powerful Vijayanagar Viceroy, who along with his trusted generals, beat the 
invaders back up to Rajamundry in A.D. 1474-75. But some years later, about 
1480, the Bahmini Sultan Muhammad Shah invaded the South. Firishta tells us 
that the Sultan received information about the richress and grandeur of the temples 
at the Hindu city, Kanchi, which was said to be of only ten days’ journey from 
Kondavidu, his camping place. 133 He invaded Kanchi and looted much of its 
wealth. Saluva Narasimha sent his general Isvara Nayaka to Kanchi, who success- 
fully drove the Sultan out of Kanchi and even managed to recapture much of the 
booty which the Sultan had collected by plunder of Kanchi. 136 

Virupaksha’s rule ended in 1485. He was killed by his eldest son who in turn 
was killed by his younger brother. This state of confusion was the most opportune 
moment for Saluva Narasimha, the powerful subordinate of Vijayanagar empire, to 
usurp the throne, which he did in I486. Till then, he was only a governor in charge 
of the modem districts of South Arcot, North Arcot and Chingleput, 137 with his 
headquarters at Chandragiri. This usurpation which is called the First Usurpation 
marked the replacement of the Sangama dynasty by the new Saluva line of kings 
over the Vijayanagar throne. Saluva Narasimha was quite an able king. He 
recovered most of the revolted provinces during his six years rule. Though he 
could not recover Raichur Doab from the Bahminis and Udayagiri from the king 
of Orissa, Saluva Narasimha’s hold over the Tamil country was quite intact. He 
was a great devotee of Vishnu and during his time, the Vishnu temple of Tirupati 
and Kanchi received great many benefactions. He had the services of a dynamic 
SrI-Vaishnava leader named Kandadai Ramanuja Iyengar, who utilised the royal 
benefactions for various charitable and religious purposes at Tirupati, Srlrangam and 
Kanchi. 138 His epigraphs dated A.D. 1486 and 1487 are found in our temple. 139 

After the death of Saluva Narasimha in 1491, his son Immadi Narasimha suc- 
ceeded to the throne. He was however put to death sometime in 1505. His general 
Narasa Nayaka now seized the throne and from him started the Tuluva line. 
Shortly afterwards, Narasa died. He was succeeded by his son Vira Narasimha (A.D. 
1505 to 1509). His inscription dated April 1509 is found on the east wall of the 
Abhisheka-mandapa of the Varadarajaswami temple. 140 It records a gift of a village 
called Narasingarayapuram, evidently called after Vira Narasimha. The latter was 
succeeded by his able and strong brother Krishnadeva Raya, who ruled between 
A.D. 1509-1529. 

Krishnadeva Raya (A.D. 1509-1529) 

The reign of Krishnadeva Raya is a landmark in the history of South India. 
Under him, the Vijayanagar empire was at the zenith of its power and glory. It 
included practically the whole of South India. By his military prowess he made 
his authority felt by the rebel chieftains of Ummattur, the Gajapatis of Orissa, 
Sultan Muhammad II of Bahmini and the Sultan of Bijapur* Tondaimandalam and the 

Political Background 29 

rest of the Tamil country were so quiet and calm, that Krishnadeva Raya could not 
only fully divert his attention to his arduous wars with the Gajapati, but also could 
pay frequent visits to holy places like Tirupati, Kalahasti and Kanchi. 141 As many 
as 16 inscriptions of Krishnadeva Raya are found at the Varadarajaswami temple 
ranging between § 1431 to S 1451 (A.D. 1510-1528). Two of these inscriptions 
give us a complete list of his conquests prior to § 1438. 142 After the conquests, the 
king made a religious tour of the South and halted at Kanchi and visited Varadaraja- 
swami temple* He made benefactions for the merit of his father Narasa Nayaka 
and his mother Nagaladevi. This grant was recorded in three languages viz., Tamil, 
Telugu and Kannada. 143 These inscriptions begin with the usual historical introduc- 
tion in Sanskrit and give the genealogy of the Tuluva dynasty from Xsvara down 
to Krishnadeva Raya. An epigraph mentions a gift by an official adhikaram Raya- 
sam Ayyapparasayyar, son of Gottimukku Tipparasar of Bharadvaja-gotra. 144 
Another epigraph dated S 1446 mentions a gift of jewelled pendant to God by 
another officer Rayasam Sripatayya. 145 * The latter’s local agent one Narapparasayya 
also made gifts. 146 ' In S 1438 the king himself gave five villages yielding an annual 
income of 1,500 varahas asgift. 147 

Three months later, Krishnadeva ^Raya again visited Kanchi perhaps on his 
way back to his capital and gave donations to Varadarajaswami and Ekambaresvarar 
temples at Kanchi. 148 

Achyutadeva Raya (A.D. 1530-1542) 

Krishnadeva Raya was succeeded by his brother Achyuta Raya 1529 

and nearly 23 inscriptions of his are found at Sri Varadarajaswami temple, their 
dates ranging from £ 1450 to § 1463 (i.e., from A.D. 1530 to 1542)! 49 He perform- 
ed his coronation at Tirupati. A record at Kanchi dated ' A.D. } 53 3 states that 
soon after his coronation in the year Virodhi (1529-30), the king directed his Jpcal 
agent afr Kanchi, Saluva Nayaka, to distribute his gifts of villages equally between 
the temples of Varadaraja and Ekambaresvarar in the city of Kanchipuram in 
Chandragiri-i^jHj^# 0 But the latter failed in his trust and allotted more to the 
Siva temple. When this irregularity was brought to the notice of the king while 
he was at Kanchi, he ordered a revised allocation to be made and had the necessary 
documents drawn up in his presence. An earlier record of the year S 1454 (A.D. 
1532) states that Achyuta Raya visited Sr! Varadarajaswami temple in the company 
of his wife Varadadevi Amman and his son Kumara Venkatadri. During the 
occasion he made enormous gifts including 17 villages and a thousand cows. He 
also performed 4 Mukta-thulabharcC by weighing himself against pearls. This is inscrib- 
ed in three languages, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. 151 The Sanskrit historical 
poem Achyutarayabhyudayam also refers to this event. It says that Achyuta in the 
course of his expedition to the Tamil country to quell the rebellious governor 
Chellappa, visited holy places like Tirupati and Kalahasti and from there he 
“proceeded with his army to Kanchi”. 152 Then the king weighed himself against 
pearls which were distributed for charity. While at Kanchi several forest kings 
( kiratas ) waited upon him with tribute and presents. Accompanied by them he 
proceeded further south and went to Tiruvannamalai. After worshipping the God 
of the place, he entered the Chola country and, after a few days march, reached 

30 Sri Varadarajaswami T empl e — Kan chi 

Srlrangam. Having stayed there for some time, he intended proceeding further on 
his expedition, when one of his officers told him that it was not necessary for the 
king to go against a small chief like Chellappa and requested that he might be 
entrusted with the expedition. 153 Chellappa referred to in the poem was Saluva 
Nayaka or Saluva Narasimha, who served as governor of the Tamil provinces under 
Krishnadeva Raya. He was probably a native of Kanchipuram. An inscription 
from Kunnattur dated in the time of Krishnadeva Raya (A.D. 1510) informs us that 
Sajuva Nayakkar Sellappar was the son of Tirukkalaindan Bhatta, a Devakanmi of 
the temple of Tiruvekambamudaya Nayinar (Ekambaresvarar temple) at Kanchi- 
puram. 154 During Achyuta’s time he became rebellious and defied the Vijayanagar 
authority. It was the same Saluva Nayaka who was also responsible for the 
irregularity in the distribution of lands between Varadaraja and Ekambaresvarar 
temples, which the king himself had to set right during his visit to the city. But 
when Achyuta’s forces entered deep into Tamilnad, Sellappa fled to Tiruvadi rajya. 
He was pursued even there by Achyuta’s brother-in-law. He defeated the local king 
who gave protection to Sellappa and brought both of them as prisoners. 155 

One officer by name Kumara Dannayaka is mentioned as having made gifts to the 
temple for the merit of Rayasam Narasayya, the son of Virupaksha Dannayaka. 156 

Achyuta’s reign also witnessed the growth of resentment amongst many of the 
subordinate viceroys of the Vijayanagar empire like the Nayak of Madura. Some 
of them joined Ramaraya, Tirumala and Venkata of the Aravidu family as against 
the influential nephews of Achyutaraya. This consequently plunged the country 
into troubles. 

Sadasiva (A.D. 1542-1576) 

Achyuta was succeeded by his son Venkata I in 1541 but a few months’ later, 
he was murdered by his maternal uncle Salakaraju Tirumala who seized the throne. 
The latter’s tyrannical rule was however cut short by Sadasiva who ruled between 
A.D. 1542 and 1576. Quite a number of Sadasiva’s records are found at the 
Varadarajaswami temple, their dates ranging from § 1466 to § 1484 (i.e., A.D. 
1544-1 562). 157 Sadasiva was a weak monarch and so his reign was dominated by 
his able minister Rama Raya who wielded all the power and was indeed the de facto 
ruler of the kingdom. Sadasiva is even said to have been imprisoned and later 
exhibited to the people once a year. 158 But this great power lie wielded and his 
interference in the affairs of the Sultanates of Deccan alienated the latter and 
brought about the disastrous battle of Talikotta in A.D. 1565. The battle ended 
in utter defeat of the Vijayanagar army. Rama Raya was taken prisoner and put 
to death. Rama Raya’s brother Tirumala made good his escape and also took 
Sadasiva his sovereign as captive. 

An important feature of Sadasiva’s reign was the domination of the realm by 
his kinsmen and other chieftains. He replaced the old nobility and elevated his 
own brothers, cousins and nephews to high posts of chieftainship. They were 
mostly of the Aravidu or Telugu-Choda families. This is very well borne out by 
his inscriptions at Varadaraja temple in which his numerous powerful chieftains 
are mentioned with high-sounding titles. They are : 

1. Matli Varctdaraju : He was one of the important chiefs of the Matli-family 

Political Background 31 

who claimed descent from the Deva-Choda family of the Solar race. He is 
described as the son of Somaraja. Like Aliya Ramaraya, Varadaraja was 
also the son-in-law of Krishnadeva Raya having married the latter’s daughter 
Krishnamma. Varadaraja is described in an epigraph as Kaveri-Vallabha, 
Katikasurahara, Gajasimha etc. 159 His grants to the Vishnu shrine at 
Tirupati figure in the inscriptions at Tirupati. He made cash award to our 
temple in A.D. 1544. 1G0 

2. Surappa Ndyaka : He was probably the same as Adaippam Surappa-Nayaka, 

the son of Pottu or Pottappa Nayaka of Kasyapa-gotra, Apastambha sutra and 
yajus-saki. He seems to have been an agent ( Karyakarta ) of Sadasiva and 
exercised authority over Tiruvad i-r ajya or South Arcot region, where he did 
numerous benefactions to temples of Ennayiram, Sembedu etc. 161 He pur- 
chased a village and donated it to this temple in A.D. 1548. 162 

3. Rangayyasdla Maharaja : He is described as the son of Chalikyadeva Chola- 

Maharaya of Kasyapa-gotra, Apastambha sutra and of Solar race. 163 The 
income from a village was entrusted to him for making certain offerings in 
the temple. This was in A.D. 1551- 

4. Tiruppadiraja * He gave a grant to the temple for the merit of his parents, 
Mahamandaleswara Chinnayyadeva Maharaja and Akkamma. 364 Probably, 
the former is to be identified with Chinna Timmayyadeva-Maharaja, the 
third son of Pottapati-Timmaraja of the Aravldu family who was in charge 
of the Chandragiri rajya. 163 

5. Ramaraju Chinna Timmayyadeva Maharaja : A record dated A.D. 1549 says 

that he was to conduct all charities. 366 His agent Gopinayaningaru gave gifts 
in his merit. 167 His two Dalavays, Kuppa Nayakar and Timmaraja, also 
gave gifts. 167a 

6. Dalavdy Timmaraja : He was an agent under Mahamandaleswara Ramaraja 

Chinna Timmaraja who had his headquarters at Sengalinirpatru Sirmai (the 
modern Chingleput town). He gave a village in his province as gift to 
Varadaraja temple. 168 

7. Ramaraja , son of Mahamandaleswara Chikkayyaraja of Araviti : As the name 

itself implies he belongs to the Aravldu family. He is stated to have been in 
charge of the conduct of annual festivals at Kanchi. 169 This record is datable 
to A.D. 1558. 

8. Rayasam Venkatadri : Mentioned as son of Mosilanadugu Timmaraja. He 

was assigned the income from certain villages on interest for providing 
offerings. 170 From the T.T.D. inscriptions we know that Venkatadri was 
the grandson of Mosalimadugu Viramaraja of Haritasa-gotra, Apastambha- 
sutra and yajus-saki. Venkatadri served Achyutaraya as his rayasam or 
secretary while his father Timmaraja was a minister of the crown during the 
same reign. 171 From Tirupati inscriptions we know that both father and 
son continued to serve Sadasiva and made large gifts to the Tirupati 
temple. 172 

9. Raja Ramaraju Ay y an : An inscription dated § 1466 (A.D. 1544) mentions 

certain charities made for his merits. 173 Aliya Ramaraja was often referred 
to in inscriptions as Rajaramaraju Ayyam 174 

32 Sri Varadarcjaswami Temple— Kanch 

10. Ndgardja : Nagaraja son of Kadappai Siddharaja of Atreya-gotra and the 
lunar race was the brother of Siddhiraju Sr! Rangaraya who is perhaps 
identical with the agent of Yara Tirumalarajayya who was in charge of the 
Kondavldu area. 175 

Thus, so far as this temple was concerned, it was a bright period as it received 
large benefactions from the nobles and chieftains in the form of money, lands and 
villages for conducting many festivals like Garden-festival, repairs to the Porramarai 
tank, maintenance of flower gardens and for conducting charities. 

Tirumala (A.D. 15704571) 

“Talikotta”, it has been truly said, “was the climacteric but not the grand climac- 
teric' 9 . The capital city Vijayanagar was no doubt sacked and reduced to ruins. The 
empire received the rude shock from the Muslim confederates. But the imperial 
authority continued to be a force in South Indian politics for another half a century. 
It still continued its resistance power and patronage of the 

Hindu religion. 176 # 

Tirumala attempted to re-establish the capital of Vijayanagar, but failed because, 
the Regent of Sadasiva shifted his capital from 'Vijayanagar to Penugonda in 1567. 
After three years, king Sadasiva was killed by Tirumala’s son. Then Tirumala 
usurped the throne and assumed the title “Reviver of the Decadent Karnataka 
Empire’ 5 . He was the first ruler of the Aravidu line of kings. One of the impor- 
tant acts of Tirumala was the division of his kingdom into three viceroyalties as a 
step to counteract the expansionist activity of the Muslim powers on the northern 
provinces. He appointed each of his sons as viceroy of a province. Thus, Srlranga, 
the eldest son, was put in charge of the Telugu country with his capital at Udayagiri; 
his second son Rama Raja II in charge of the Kannada country with his capital at 
Srirangapatna (near Mysore); the youngest son Venkatapati in charge of the Tamil 
country with the capital at Chandragiri. Tirumala was a scholar and author. He 
patronised poets and was an ardent devotee of the Lord of Tirupati where his 
bronze statue is kept. 

■' Srlranga I (A.D. 1572-1585) 

Shortly after this reorganisation of his empire, Tirumala died and was succeeded 
by his first son Srlranga I in A.D. 1572. Five inscriptions of Srlranga are found at 
the Varadarajaswami temple, their dates ranging from § 1493 to § 1504. An 
inscription records gift of 5 villages by the temple authorities for conducting festivals 
in the month of Vaigasi for the merit of Achyutappa Nayaka, son of Adaippan 
Sinna Sevappa Nayaka who is evidently a Nayak ruler of Tanjavur (380 of 1919, 
SJ.TJ. No. 369). From two inscriptions (383 and 479 of 1919), we learn that orders 
pertaining to the worship festivals in the temple etc , were given in the name of 
VenkatapatidSva-Maharaja, who was presumably Venkata II who was in charge of 
Chandragiri rajya in a subordinate viceroyalty during his elder brother Sriranga’s 
reign from Penugonda. These inscriptions also inform us that during this time, 
Ettur Kumara Tatacharya was managing the affairs of the temple. Sriranga’s 
reign witnessed some more incursions of the Muslim powers into Vijayanagar king- 
dom. The territory north of Penugonda was occupied by the Sultan of Bijapur, 

Political Background 33 

while the important portions of the province of Udayagiri like the districts of 
Guntur, Cuddapah, Kurnool, Bellary and Nellore were conquered by the Sultan of 
Golkonda. 177 Sriranga’s capital Penugonda was itself threatened. In the midst of 
such trying circumstances, Srlranga I died in A.D. 1585 and was succeeded by 
his younger brother Venkata II. 

Venkata II (A.D. 1586-1614) 

The reign of Venkata, which lasted nearly three decades, was marked by a 
revival of strength and prosperity of the empire. His capital was at Chandragiri. 
He attacked the Muslim army of the Deccan successfully and recovered many of 
the territories like Udayagiri which had been lost to them by his predecessors. He 
also overcame many internal troubles within the empire. 173 From 1606Vellore 
became his second capital. 179 

Inscriptions of Venkata II ranging between S 1509 and S 1527 i.e., from A.D. 
1587 to 1605, are found in Sri Varadarajaswami temple and they are not of any 
particular importance except that they mention the local agents or representatives 
giving grant to the temple. EttUr Kumara Tatachariar is mentioned as the manager 
of the temple and one Visva-Pundita was his agent. 180 Two other inscriptions 
mention one Periatirumalainambi Chakkarayar, agent of the Tatacharya. 181 
Tatacharya was the preceptor of Venkata II and was the manager of many temples 
at Kahchi and elsewhere. 

Venkata II died in 1614 and a bitter civil war ensued soon after in which his 
rightful nominee, Sriranga was put to death by the rebel group. But the loyalists 
headed by Yachama crowned Sriranga’s son Ramadeva who ruled till AD. 1630. 
His inscriptions have been found in places like Chingleput, North Arcot Districts, 182 
though none in our temple. Ramadeva was succeeded by Venkata III who ruled 
between A.D. 1630-1642. He is represented in our collection by a Telugu inscrip- 
tion dated § 1564 (A.D. 1642). 183 It mentions gift by one Tamappa or Tammi 
Bhupati, son of Chinna Krishna. His inscriptions too have been found in other 
parts of Chingleput District. 184 

Venkata III (1630-1642) 

The political condition prevailing in the Vijayanagar empire round about A.D. 
1630 at the accession of Venkata III, can briefly be outlined here. The Vijayanagar 
empire became a shadow of its former self, crippled in territorial extent and power. 
The separation of the viceroyalty of Srirangapattinam and the formation of kingdom of 
Mysore under Raja Odayar had already abridged the size and the revenues of the em- 
pire. Immediately to the north of it, was the chieftainship of Ikkeri or KSladi compris- 
ing the districts, extending from the Western Ghats right upto Harihar. The area east 
of it constituted a separate province with its headquarters at Penugonda Ikkeri and 
Penugonda regions were almost at the frontiers of the Bijapur territory. In the Tamil 
country, the Vijayanagar empire became parcelled out among its viceroyalties like the 
Nayaks of Madurai, Thanjavur and Gingee owing only nominal allegiance to their 
Vijayanagar overlord, but often working against the latter. 

Pedda Venkata ruled between A.D. 1630 and 1642. Along with him was nomi- 
nated his nephew Srlranga as the governor of Chandragiri. This further divided the 

34 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple — Kafichi 

loyalties of the officers and the people. Venkata probably had his residence at Vel- 
lore. The territories around Kahchi, Poonamallee (Pundamalli), Chingleput, and 
modem city of Madras and upto Wand i wash, were directly under Venkata III. In the 
conduct of administration the latter had to take the assistance of the two influential 
officers Damarla Venkata and Damarla Ayyappa. These were the two sons of 
Chenna, the famous general of Venkata II and they belonged to the Velugoti family of 
Kalahasti. During Venkata Ill’s time Venkatappa and Ayyappa were in charge of 
Wandiwash and Poonamallee respectively and as such wielded great influence with the 
king. 185 It was these two Damarla brothers who offered the present site of the Fort 
St. George, Madras, to the English East India Company in A.D. 1639 for their 
settlement. The English in their records gratefully refer to Damarla Venkatappa 
Nayaka, the elder and the more influential of the brothers as the 'Lord General of 
the Carnatic 5 and ‘Grant Vazier’. 186 

But Venkata III seems to have been only the nominal Vijayanagar emperor. The 
region round Chandragiri fell to the share of his nephew Srlranga, whose territory 
bordered on that of the Golkonda and hence had to bear the brunt of the Golkonda 
attacks from the north-west. Srlranga did this important task and was largely 
responsible for guarding the fortress of the Vijayanagar empire. Golkonda launched 
the policy of expansion towards south and its army advanced right upto Venkatagiri 
and Armagon, as attested by the company correspondence at Pulicat. But they were 
beaten back by Srlranga 5 s forces which cut short their southern movement. Srl- 
ranga had a clear policy m checking the Golkonda aggression. But, unfortunately, 
he did not have the hearty co-operation from the principal officers of the empire. The 
Damarla brothers were not favourably disposed towards him. The Nayaks of 
Gingee, Thanjavur and Madurai did not rally round and were pulling in different 

Srlranga III 

Venkata died in 1642 and Srlranga was raised to the imperial throne in spite 
of opposition from many chiefs including the Damarla brothers. The Golkonda army 
had advanced upto Pulicat and even laid siege to it. But Srlranga showed 
great courage, beat them back and checked their advance. The condition 
of South India in about 1642-43 is admirably summed up in a letter of Fort 
St. George dated Jan. 4, 1643 : "This country being all in broils, the old king 

of Karnataka dead. So is the Nayak of Armagon, whose country is all in the hands 
of the Moors and who will ere long by all likelihood be masters of all this 
country. 5 ’ 187 The mention of Moors in this letter is obviously a reference to the 
Golkonda army which was advancing but which was temporarily driven back by 

Golkonda and Bijapur armies invade 

The siege of Pulicat conducted by Mallai was cut short by the invasion of the 
Muslim forces of the Golkonda and Bijapur who had now overrun a considerable part 
of Sriranga's dominion. The forces from Pulicat front had therefore to be withdrawn 
for opposing the Muslim invaders 168 But even Mallai’s troops could not stem the 
tide of the Muslim invasion. By about 1 645 the combined forces of Bijapur and 

Political Background 35 

Golkonda laid siege to Vellore, the seat of Sriranga’s residence. In this war, the 
latter was defeated decisively and his royal residence was occupied by the Muslim 
forces. SrTranga had to seek refuge in flight, leaving his defence operations to Mallai 
who only proved treacherous to his overlord. According to the Fort St. George 
letter despatch dated February 1645/1646 he surrendered 4 ‘the strongest hold in the 
kingdom to Mir Jummla, upon composition to himself and all his people to go 
free.” 189 Another letter dated 9th October of the same year informs us that the 
General of the Golkonda “hath almost conquered this kingdom and reigneth as king 
under the title Annabob” (i e., Nawab). 190 After this, Mir Jumla continued his 
march towards Gin gee and captured it with the help of Bijapur to whom it was 
ultimately given in A.D. 1649. After this Srlranga made some feeble attempts to 
reinstate himself. But again he was betrayed by his own chiefs — this time Koneri 
Chetty, the commander who went over to side of Mir Jumla now backed up by the 
Mughal. Mir Jumla’s forces were led by Tuppakki Krishnappa. Sriranga’s forces 
were ambushed by the latter and defeated in October 1658. Thus, there was confu- 
sion in the political situation and places were changing hands quickly which made 
English Company’s servants at Fort St. George even think of abandoning their settle- 
ment at Madras (letter dated November 1661). Between years 1661 and 1664, the 
Golkonda forces succeeded gradually in dislodging the officers of Mir Jumla and 
taking possession of all the territory under his control including those which were 
under Sriranga’s control. This led to the definite establishment of the Golkonda 
authority in the region known as the Carnatic extending from the coast down to the 
borders of the highlands and from Golkonda down to Madras. 191 In 1645, Srlranga 
retired to Tirupati and that was the end of the Vijayanagar kingdom. 192 

Paucity of Inscriptions at the Varadarajaswami temple 

The political confusion and uncertainty that prevailed in the region was proba- 
bly the reason for the paucity of inscriptions of this time at the Varadarajaswami 
temple. Even in a few of these that occur, the usual mention of the reigning king 
is omitted. For example, in an epigraph dated S 1581 corresponding to A.D. 1659, 
the name of the ruling king or dynasty is omitted. But this epigraph is valuable 
in so far as it mentions the troublous times through which the temple passed. It 
records that one Venkatadri, son of Dharmayya of Kottapalji, was given certain 
honours and privileges in recognition of his services to the temple in running the 
administration during the difficult times of Muslim ( Turukkar ) invasion. 193 The 
reference is obviously to the incursious of the Golkonda forces. Even inscriptions of 
this temple dated A.D. 1677 or A.D. 1687 do not mention the ruling king, 194 or the 
dynasty evidently because the authorities who were in charge of recording the transac- 
tions preferred to be non-committal in the fast-changing political developments. But 
an outline of the political condition of this area, as known from other sources, can be 
given here. 

Kanchi under the Golkonda 

By about A.D. 1672, the supremacy of the Gblkonda power became established 
in the Tondaimandalam region or the Carnatic. Abdulla Kutub Shah, the Sultan of 
Golkonda, even issued fqrman to East India Co., at Madras confirming the privileges 

36 Sri Varadardjaswam i Temple — Kanchi 

given to tliem earlier. 195 At this time, Kaffchipuram formed part of the province 
of Pundamalli, which was directly under an officer named Podelle Lingappa. Of 
the two Brahmin ministers of Golkonda, Madanna and Akkanna, the former appoin- 
ted his nephew Podelle Lingappa as a Collector of rents for the province of Punda- 
malh. Kanchipuram came under this province. His headquarters seem to have 
been at Kanchipuram also for some time. He is said to have constructed a few 
streets and some minor temples at Kanchi. One of the streets still goes by his 
name , 196 In 1674, Abdulla Kutub Shah was succeeded by his son-in-law Abdul 
Hasan Qutub Shah, the last Golkonda Nawab. In 1675, the Nawab lost all grip 
over the administration and left the direction of the affairs to his ministers and 
subordinate officers. The effect was felt at Madras in so far as Lingappa governor 
of Pundamalli assumed greater powers and came into clash with the English at 
Madras. 197 

The Mahratta army at Kanchi, 1676 

In 1676, the Mahratta army under Sivaji moved into the Carnatic country. 
The English council at Madras reported that Sivaji, with the support of the king of 
Golkonda, was marching to sack and recapture Gingee, which was under the 
Bijapur. He sacked Gingee and laid siege to Vellore and even went upto Thanjavur 
and left his brother Ekoji alias Venkaji as ruler of Thanjavur. In August 1678, 
Abdulla Khan, the commander of the Bijapur forces in the Vellore castle surrendered 
to Sivaji’s forces after a siege. In October of the same year, he made himself the 
master of the advanced territory. In 1678, Sivaji’s forces were at Kanchipuram on 
their way to capture Pundamalli, the headquarters of Lingappa and then lay siege 
to the English fort at Madras. This is clearly expressed in the Fort St. George Diary 
dated 21st August 1678, which says : 

“Yesterday there came intelligence from Conjeevaram (which is the chief city of these parts, 
about 40 miles distance), that there was 1000 or 1500 of Sevajee’s horsemen under the com- 
mand cf Santojee, his brother, which appeared before the place. Wherefore the inhabitants were 
put mto great fears, thinking the town would be taken and plundered. And they reported also 
that those horse, and with other forces, now intended to proceed further into the king of Gol- 
konda’s country and to take Pummallee castle, about 10 miles in land from us. But this day 
came under other persons from Conjeevaram who reported that those horse of Sevajee about 
1000 came thither in pursuit of some Vijapore fort that were intended to relieve and succour 
Veloor castle which hath been besieged by the Sevajee’s forces these 14 months. ..The said castle 
of Yeloor is now surrendered to Sevajee’s forces..." 198 

The possible invasion of Sivaji’s forces terrorised the English at Madras. But 
somehow Sivaji suddenly changed plans and turned towards Mysore. All his further 
designs of conquest came to a sudden end by his premature death in 1680. He was 
succeeded by his son Sambaji. 

Kanchi under the Moghuls 

Just as the old Hindu State of Vijayanagar succumbed to the Golkonda army 
forty years before, the effete dynasty of the Qutub Shahs now fell before the vic- 
torious Moghuls. Aurangazeb, the Moghul emperor, was determined to conquer and 
annex the two kingdoms of Golkonda and Bijapur. In the years 1686 and 1687, 
Aurangazeb invaded Bijapur and Golkonda and conquered them. The Moghul army 

Political Background 37 

continued its march down to the Carnatic. In October 1687, news reached the Fort 
St. George that the Golkonda stronghold had yielded after protracted siege and the 
king was a prisoner. The next few days brought the news that the Moghul forces 
had come as far south as Kanchipuram and that the Moghul flag was hoisted on the 
fort at Pundamalli. 

During this time, one ‘Potty Cawn’ (Fath-Khan) was appointed Subhedar of the 
Kanchipuram area with his headquarters at Chmgleput. 199 The Moghul army pene- 
trated further south. But Sambaji, the son and successor of Sivaji, took up army 
against the Moghuls in the Deccan and prepared to resist their incursions into Gingee 
territory. He sent a force into the Carnatic under his general named Santoji Rau to 
fight the Moghuls. Early in 1688, an action was fought at Kanchipuram between the 
Moghul forces and Santoji in which the latter was worsted. The Mahratta army 
consisted of 2,000 horses and 5000 footmen and this war did considerable damage to 
the city of Kanchi. 200 Late in 1689, Aurangazeb captured Sambaji, the Mahratta 
king and tortured him to death. Sambaji’s brother Raja Ram Maharaja was made 
the king of the Mahrattas at Gingee. 201 

Kanchi under the Nawabs of the Carnatic, the viceroys of the Moghuls 

Having thus conquered the two kingdoms of Golkonda and Bijapur and inflicted 
a heavy blow to the Mahratta power, the Moghul power under Aurangazeb became 
supreme in the Deccan and South India upto Trichinopoly. Aurangazeb demanded 
allegiance from the other Indian States like Mysore and Madurai. Resistance came 
from the Nayak of Gingee, but this was put down by Aurangazeb’s able general 
Zulfikar Khan, after a long and arduous siege. With the fall of Gingee, the southern 
province of the Moghuls was established with Zulfikar as the chief. He was called 
the Nawab of the Carnatic. Sometime later, Zulfikar’s services were wanted else- 
where and so, he had to leave for Delhi. He left behind him his lieutenant Daud 
Khan in charge. Daud Khan resided for some time in Gingee and then in Arcot, 
which later on became the capital of the Carnatic. His own civil officer, Sayyad 
Muzafar, became Nawab in his turn as Sadat-Ullah-Khan of Arcot in 1710. Orme con- 
sidered him as the first regular and acknowledged Nabob of the Carnatic. But as 
pointed out by Crole, this is a mistake for he did not differ in this respect from his 
predecessor. 202 The only distinction is that with him a hereditary character was 
given to the office. 

Image of Varadaraja removed from Kafichi : A.D. 1688 

What was the condition of the Kanchi city and Sri Varadarajaswami temple there- 
in ? The whole of the 17th century was indeed an unfortunate period in the history 
of the Carnatic. It was characterised by political uncertainty, instability and the 
consequent break in the administration of the land. Constant warfare, the extortions 
of the local Nayaks and each victor trying to exploit the maximum he could within 
his short time, plunged the people in great misery and poverty. As Crole remarks 
“there was no one to take up their (people’s) cause. They silently suffered and not 
a record remains among them of the horrors of that time.” 203 This horror was never 
greater than on the eve of the Moghul invasion of the South in 1688, already mention- 
ed. Kanchipuram, in common with several other important centres of South India, felt 

38 Sri VaradardjaswZtmi Temple — Kafichi 

the shock of the iconoclastic zeal of Aurangazeb. His zeal for destroying the Hindu 
temples and idols seems to have been already widely known at Kanchipuram. So, 
the authorities of the three prominent temples of the city (Varadaraja, Ekamresvara 
and Kamakshi temples), apprehending desecration at the hands of the invaders, 
disguised the images of the temple Gods and conveyed them secretly out of the town. 
The images of Lord Varadaraja and His consorts found an asylum in the jungles of 
Udayarpalayam in the Tiruchirapalli District. But in A.D. 1710, when the danger 
was past and Kanchi considered safe, attempts were made to bring the deities back. 
But the local chieftain of Udayarpalayam refused to part with the images with which 
he was enraptured. At this time, an influential SrI-Vaishnava ascetic or Jiyar named 
Srlmat Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya Attan Jiyar caused his disciple Lala Todar- 
malla to intercede. The latter terrorised the chief with a strong contingent of troops 
and safely brought back the image and reinstalled it with great pomp and splendour. 
This is recorded in a long inscription found on a slab erected in the temple near the 
Tayar shrine dated S 1632 corresponding to A.D. 17 10. 204 This incident is even 
today commemorated in an annual festival called ‘Udaiyarpalayam-festivalh This 
person, Attan Jiyar alias Srinivasadasa was a relative of Akkanna and Madanna, the 
two influential Brahmin ministers of the Golkonda kingdom. He came down to 
Kanchi probably in the wake of Aurangazeb’s attack on Golkonda. In a copper- 
plate grant dated 5 years later than the above one i.e., S 1636 (A.D. 1714-15), the 
same Srinivasadasa is mentioned as a guru of Raja Todarmalla and that he granted five 
villages to the temple near Chidambaram. Raja Todarmalla was a General under 
Sa-adet-ulla-khan, the Nawab of Carnatic. He took a leading part in the capture of 
Gingee. 205 

The Attan Jiyar inscription mentioned above is dated in the reign of Sadat-Ullab- 
Khan who became the Nawab of Arcot in A.D. 1710. Under him and his successor 
Dost Alifor a period of almost 30 years, there was some peace and good administra- 
tion in the Carnatic. Perhaps that is the reason why the restoration of the images 
was undertaken m A.D. 1710, the moment the political confusion ended. The rule 
of Sadat-Ullah-Khan over Kanchipuram is again attested by another inscription at 
Sri Varadaraja dated § 1645 (A.D. 1723-24), which mentions him as Nabob 
Sadulla Khan Bahadur the governor of the Carnatic province under the Alamgir 
Pasha Mahmad, the Moghul Emperor at Delhi. 206 Sadat-Ullah-Khan ruled as 
Nawab until 1732 when he was succeeded by his nephew Dost Ali. 

The inscription mentioned above which is dated 1723 is the last one in this temple 
in point of time. For the rest of the period, Kanchi shared the political fate of the 
area known as the Carnatic which was sacked in turn by the Mahrattas in 1724 and 
1740 and by the forces of Nizam of Hyderabad in 1742. Later, it featured in the 
Carnatic Wars and was even raided by the French and the English. The latter under 
Clive captured the considerable tract on the north of Palar including Kanchi on 
behalf of Muhammed Ali, the Nawab of the Carnatic. The EkambarSsvara Temple, 
referred to as the ‘Great Pagoda’ in the English records, seems to have served 
alternatively as the citadel of the contending army in 1763. The English got from 
theNawab the district of Chingleput (including Kanchipuram) almost by compulsion 
for the expenses of the war with the French. It was known as the ‘Jaghir’. This 
was the first tract of the country of the Carnatic where the Company’s authority was 

Political Background 39 

felt, though here too it was only indirect in the beginning. On the outbreak of the 
II Mysore war (1780) with Hyder Ali, it came under direct control of the East 
India Company. First it was placed under the committee of assigned revenues. 
In 1786, the committee was abolished. In 1788, the ‘Jaghir’ was divided into two 
divisions called northern and the southern and placed under two Collectors. 
In 1794, the jaghir came to be known as the Chingleput District, which included the 
present districts of Chingleput and Madras. Kanchi continues to be in the District 
of Chingleput. 


1. Dr. S.K. Iyengar : Introduction to R. 
Gopalan’s “The Pallavas of Kanchi (1928), 
pp. XV and XVII. 

2. K.A.N. Sastri, Cholas, pp. 129-132. 

3. S.I.I. Ill, p. 269. 

4. Ibid , p. 288, n. 5. 

5. S 1 1. Ill, p. 423. 

6. Ibid , p. 73. 

7. 519 of 1919. 

8. K.A.N. Sastri, op. cit., p. 273. 

9. K.A.N. Sastri, op. cit p. 323. The pra- 
iasti of the epigraph {S.I.I. IV, 445) 
records the war as a personal achievement 
of Kulottunga I. 

10. S II. No. IV, 862. 

11. M. Raghava Iyengar: Araichi Toguthi 
(Tamil, Madras, 1964), pp. 428-430. 

12. 49 of 1893 (S.I.I., IV, No. 862), 631, 
632 and 635 of 1919. 

13. 22 of 1890; 18 of 1893; 36 of 1888 etc. 

14. 39 of 1921. 

15. 632 of 1919. 

16. S.I.I., II, 55, K.A.N. Sastri, op.cit , p-180. 

17. K.A.N. Sastri, Natalokavira in his Studies 
in Chola History and Administration , 
Madras, 1932, pp. 183-185 and also p. 188. 

18. For full details of his various military 
exploits and the significance of the titles 
see ibid. 

19. 33 of 1893; 436, 440, 471, 516, 518, 520 
and 590 of 1919. 

20. 406 of 1919. 

21. See Chapter V for more details. 

22. 465 and 389 of 1919. 

23. K.A.N. Sastri, op. cit., p. 366. 

24. 48 of 1893; S.I.I . IV, No. 861. This is 
on the 3rd pidkdra according to the 
scheme adopted in this thesis though it is 
mentioned as second in the Ep. Report. 

25. S.I.I. Ill, No. 88. 

26. See Appendix HI. 

27. 589 of 1919. 

28. 493 and 487 of 1919. 

29. 620 of 1919. 

30. 456 of 1919. 

31. 494 of 1919. 

32. 554 of 1919. 

33. K.A.N. Sastri, op. cit., pp. 421-422; Ep. 
Ind. VII, pp. 160 ff. 

34. K.R. Venkataraman, The Hoysalas in 
the Tamil Country , pp. 17 and 27. 

35. Appendix III. 

36. Ep. Car. V, No. 211 -b. 

37. K.A.N. Sastri, op. cit., pp. 437 and 438. 

38. 404, 408, 369 and 366 and 397 of 1919. 

39. 404 of 1919. 

40. 408 and 397 of 1919. 

Dandanayaka or Dannayaka was the 
Hoysala official of the higher grade 
with wide civil and military powers (cf. 
J. Duncan M. Derret, The Hoysalas, 
Madras, 1957), p. 188. 

41. 369 and 366 of 1919. 

42. 397 and 404 and 615 of 1919. 

43. 612 of 1919. 

44. 602 of 1919. 

45. K A.N. Sastri has identified Manmu Sid- 
dha I with Nalla Siddha, Cholas , p 388; 
contra Sewel, HIS I, p. 130. 

46. 456 of 1919. 

47. K.A.N. Sastri, op. cit,, p. 390, 

48. Ep. Ind. VII. p. 152 ff. 

49. R. Sewel, op. cit., p. 396. 

50. Appendix III. See both under Rajaraja III 
and Tikka I. 

51. 446 of 1919. 

52. R. Sewel, op. cit., p. 140. 

53. 34 of 1893 (§ 1157). 

54. 432, 434 of 1919; 463. 

55. 446, 416, 395, 357 etc. of 1919. 

56. S.I.I. IV, No. 851. 

57. 621 and 620 of 1919. 

58. 46 of 1893; S.I.I. IV, No, 859. 

59. 416 of 1919. 

60. 345 of 1919. 

61. 570 of 1919. 

40 Sri Voradara jas w&rni Temple — Kittle hi 

62. 607 of 1919. 

63. 609 of 19 19. 

64. 415 of 1919. 

65. Ep. Car. VI, Kd. 100, K.A.N. Sastri, op. 
cit., p. 434 and note 81 and 82. 

66. 2 of 1893 and 26 of 1890; I.A. XII 122 and 
197 ff. 

67. R. Sewel, op. at , p 148. 

68- 580 of 1907; ARE 1908 II, 75. 

69. R. Sewel, op. at., p. 148. 

70. See Appendix III. 

71. 353, 450 of 1919, 38 of 1890; 350 of 1919. 

72. 538, 393, 571 and 343 of 1919. (all from 
Varadarajaswami temple, Kanchi). 

73. R. Sewel, op. cit , p. 152. 

74. Ibid, pp. 154-155. The Pandya king claims 
to have killed a Telugu-Choda chief 
“Gandagopala”. There is considerable 
difficulty in identifying this chief, 
because this title was common to many 
of them. One thing is certain that 
he could not have been Tribhuvana- 
chakravarthi Gandagopata, for we find 
his inscriptions coming right upto 1291. 
It might have been Tikka I. 

75. Appendix III. 

76. 568 of 1919. 

77. ARE 1920 of p. 118. 

78. 39 of 1893; S LI IV, No. 852. 

79. 538, 393, 503 of 1919; 36 of 1890 

80. K.A.N. Sastri . A History oj South India , 
p. 207. 

81. R. Sewel, op. cit., pp. 171 and 396. 

82. Ibid, p. 171; 603 of 1919. 

83. Ep. Ind. VII, 128; R. Sewel, op. cit., p. 172. 
A theory of two Kopperufijmgas, father 
and son, bearing the same name has also 
been put forward and also different 
versions are held about his relations with 
the Pandyas. Refer K.A.N. Sastri, Cholas\ 
R. Satyanatha Iyer, The Kadavaraya Prob- 
lem m Dr. S.K. Iyengar's Commemorative 
Volume ; V. Vridhegirisan, The Kadava - 
rayas in Journal of Indian History, vol. 
XVI, 137-160; and views of S. Soma- 
sundara Desikar, J I.H. , vol. XVII, pt. 3. 

84. K.A.N. Sastri, op. cit., p. 430. 

85. 353 of 1919. 

86. 353, 450 of 1919; 38 of 1890; 365 and 
356 of 1919 respectively. 

87. JMU , X, p. 56. 

88. 350. 

89. 350 and 365 of 1919; cf. K.V. Raman : 
The Nilagangarayans in the Madras Region 
in The Early History of the Madras 

Region, Appendix II. 

90. 450 of 1919. 

91. 444 and 445 of 1919; Ep. Ind. VII, pp 95 


92. Ibid. 

93. Ibid. 

94. Ibid, pp. 100-102. 

95. K.A.N. Sastri : A History of South India , 
pp. 207-208. 

96. 64 of 1927. 

97. 52 of 1893; 485, 486 and 488 of 1919. 

98. 488 cf 1919. 

99. 485 of 1919. 

100. 483 of 1919. 

101. R. Sewel, op. cit., p. 150. 

K.A.N. Sastri, Pandyan Kingdom , p. 175. 

102. Supra. 

103. 592 of 1907; R. Sewel, op. cit., p. 65. 

104. R. Sewel, op. cit., pp. 165-175. 

105. S.K. Iyengar : South India and Her 

Muhammadan Invaders , p. 74 ff. 

106. K.A.N. Sastri : A History of South India , 

p 220. 

107. 34 of 1890; Ep. Ind. IV, No. 145. 

108. Ep. Ind. VIII, 8, ARE 1911, u. 79. 

109. Ep Ind. VII, pp, 128/132; Hultzh, the 
editor of the epigraph, rightly surmises 
that Manavlra was probably a member 
of the Gandagopata family which was 
connected with Kanchi. 

110. Dr. N.V. Ramanayya has pointed that 
since the Velugotivarivamsdvah mentions 
that Muppudu Nayaka defeated the 
Pancha Pandyas and captured Kanchi, the 
latter was probably under the Pandyas 
who might have recaptured the city from 
the Chera king Ravivarman Kulasekhara. 
Velugotivarivamsavali (1939, Madras, p. 7). 

111. 401 of 1919; 5777, 1, No. 397. 

112. 572 and 585 of 1919. 

113. Derret, The Hoysalas, op. cit., p. 173. 

114. 620 of 1919. 

115. 566 of 1919. 

116. 51 of 1893; Ep. Ind. Ill, p. 71. 

117. 604 and 524 of 1919. 

118. 523 of 1919. 

119. 357 of 1929 , 213 of 1912, 213 and 214 of 

120. S.K. Tyengar’s Sources of Vijayanagar 
History, p. 23 ff. 

121. 573 and 585 of 1919. 

122. 5.7.7. 1, 117, 120, 123. 

123. 33 of 1890. 

124. 152 of 1923; 210 of 1912 etc. R. Sewel, 
op. cit., pp. 197-198. 

Political Background 41 

125. 31 and 32 of 1890. 

126. 66 1 of 1919. 

127. SITI, I, 350 (dated S 1300= A.D. 1378). 

328. R. Sewel, pp. 208-211, Bukka II’s inscrip- 
tions at Kafichi dated 1406 found at 
Kanchi(12of 3893). 

129. 367 of 1911,215 of 1910, 226 and 272 of 

130. 634 of 1919; M. Venkataramanayya, 
Vclugothamsavali , op. cit pp. 35-36. 

131. K A.N. Sastri and M. Venkataramanayya* 
Further Sources of Vijayanagar History, 
vol. I, p. 120. 

332. 37 of 1890. 

333. 658 and 613 of 1919. 

134. MER, 1906-7, p 56. 

135. Fmshta, Scotts’ Edition I, pp, 166-167. 

136. S.K Iyengar, Sources , pp. 89-106; Sastri 
and Venkataramanayya, Further Sources 
cf Vijoyanagar History , Vol. I, pp. 137-138. 

137. ARE 19 10, para 54. 

138. See Chapter V for fuller details. 

339. 667 and 648 of 1919. 

140. 601 of 1919. 

141. N. Venkataramanayya : Studies in the His- 
tory of the Third Dynasty of Vijayanagar , 
p. 449. 

142. 474 and 533 of 1919 

343. 478, 513 and 569 of 1919. 

344 418 of 1939. 

145. 413 of 1919. 

146. 414 of 1919 

147. 474 of 1919. 

148. ARE 1920, pp. 112-113, 641 of 1919. 

149. See Appendix HI. 

150. 584 of 1919. 

151. 546, 543 and 511 of 1919. 

152. Dr. S.K. Iyengar, Sources, pp. 158-170. 

153. Ibid . 

154. 182 of 1929-30. 

155. S.K. Iyengar, Sources , p. 12. 

156. 498 of 1919. 

157. Appendix III. 

158. Fr. Heras : The Aravidu Dynasty , pp. 

159. ARE 1920, p 114. 

360. 528 of 1919. 

161. TDER, I,pp. 272-273. 

162. 482 of 1919. 

163. 504 of 1919. 

164. 580 of 1919. 

165. TDER, I, p. 261. 

166. 507 of 1919. 

167. 527 of 1919. 

167a. 592 and 591 of 1919. 

1 68. Ibid. 

169. 535 of 1919. 

170. 534 of 1919. 

171. Ep. Ind. Vol. Ill, p. 151. 

372. TDER , pp. 269-271. 

373. 4S4 of 1919. 

174. ARE 1912, para 58. 

175. ARE , 1920, p. 115. 

376. R. Satyanatha Iyer A Political and Cultu- 
ral History of India, Vol. II, pp. 294-295. 

177. R Satyanatha Iyer, op. cit , p 298. 

178. K.A.N Sastri and N. Venkataramanayya, 
Fw the r Sources of Vijayanagar History , 
I,p. 321 ff. 

179. R. Satyanatha Iyer, op. cit., p. 299. 

180. 421,381 and 382 of 1919. 

181. 499 of 1919. 

182. R. Sewel, op. cit., p 273. 

183. 502 of 1919. 

384. 201 of 1922. 

185. S K. Iyengar, Sources, p. 21 and 304. 

186. H D. Love, Vestiges of Old Madras , Vol. I. 

187. Quoted by H D Love, op. cit., Vol. I, pp. 

188. Ibid. 

189. Fort St. George to Surat O.C. No. 1974, 
21st January 164516, quoted by Love, op. 
cit., Vol I,p. 73. 

190. H D. Love, op cit., p. 76. 

191. O C. No. 2046, 9th October 1647, quoted 
by H.D. Love, op cit , p. 76 ff. 

192. S K Iyengar, History of Tirupa’i, pp. 

193. 507 of 1919; S.l.I. I, No. 388, Tumka 
avantaritile sthalam nirvagichu. 

194. 398 of 1919 

195. Love, Vestiges, I, pp. 90-91. 

196. Crole, op. cit , p. 118. 

197. Ibid , p. 355. 

198 P.C. Vol. II, 21st August 1678, quoted by 
Love, Vestiges, Vol. I, p. 357. 

199 Love, op. cit., pp. 513-14. 

200 P.C. Vol. XIV dated 27th April 1688, 
Love, op cit., p. 518. 

201 R. Sswel, op. cit , p. 289. 

202 Crole, Manual, p. 150. 

203 Ibid. 

204 Crole, Manual, p. 317, on the basis of 
wrong calculation assigned this epigraph 
to A.D. 1799 and held that the images 
were secretly removed for fear of Hyder 
Ali's invasion of Kanchi m 1780. But 
actually, the epigraph is dated A.D. 1710 
and as it refers to the reinstallation of 
the images, the removal of them should 

42 SH VaradarSjaswami Temple— Kdnchl 

have taken place much earlier. Moreover, 
the reference to Raja Tsdarmalla is an- 
other clear proof for the earlier date (cf. 
ARE 1920, p. 20). 

205. C.S. Srinivasachari : A History of Gingee 
and its Nayak Rulers (Annamalainagar, 
1943), pp. 412-417. 

206. 424 of 1919; ARE 1920, p. 123. A few 
more inscriptions of the Moghul ruler 
Alamgir Pasha are available in the neigh- 
bourhood of Kanchi e g., 130 of 1922 
found at Putted. Also see ARE 1922, 
pp. 125-126. 



The purpose of this chapter is to describe the general lay-out of the Varadaraja- 
swami temple and the disposition of the various shrines, mandapas and other 
structures therein. The ground-plans of the structures together with their measure- 
ments are given and the same are illustrated in general ground plan of the temple (Fig. 
39). Like many of the big temple-complexes of South India, such as those at Sriran- 
gam, Tiruvannamalai, Madurai and Chidambaram, this temple was not built all at one 
time but was the result of many centuries of growth and development and therefore, 
it is essential to know the sequence of construction and the probable age of each of 
the enclosures and, wherever possible, of each structure therein. Inscriptions found 
on the walls in situ afford interesting and valuable evidence for determining the age 
of the structures. Many of them make explicit mention of the date of construction 
and the person responsible for the same; while many others, though not explicit, 
help us to fix the upper age-limit of a particular structure. For instance, the gopura- 
entrance in the second prdkara opposite to the Narasimha shrine bears a number of 
Chola epigraphs, the earliest going back to A. D. 1073. From this we can reasona- 
bly infer that the gateway was either coeval with it or earlier than the date of the 
epigraph, and certainly not later than that date. But, care should be taken to 
see whether the earliest inscription in a particular structure is in its original position 
and not built into or subjoined later. Caution is also necessary in another respect. 
In this case, we cannot blindly date the superstructure over the gateway with the 
help of the inscriptions found on the basement of the gateway, because we know 
many examples where the stone basal portion alone was built at one time and the 
brick superstructure built or rebuilt considerably later. In such cases, corroboration 
from the architectural features is absolutely necessary A more detailed architectu- 
ral study of this temple is reserved for another chapter, but here it is briefly mention- 
ed as corroborative evidence to fix the age of a structure wherever necessary. 

Some useful information is also available from the traditional Vaishnavite 
literature, regarding certain shrines and prakaras, which is taken into consideration 
in outlining the sequence of construction. Description of the shrines and other 
structural features in the works of Manavala Mahamuni (1376-1445) and Appayya 
Dlkshitar (16th century), however brief, furnish important information. 

Sri Varadarajaswami temple as it stands today is a vast and impressive complex 
of structures, enclosed by high and massive compound walls, all around, occupying 
a rectangular plot of land 377.40 metres long and 211.65 metres broad. Thus, 
it is easily one of the largest temple-complexes of South India. There are two mai n 
entrances to the temple— one on the west which is the principal entrance and another 

44 Sri Varadarajaswdmi Temple— Kaiichi 

on the east, which is virtually closed except for a small wicket-gate opening within 
the door-frame. An unusual, though not a prohibited feature, of this temple is 
that the main deity is facing west and hence the gateway that is in its front has 
become the principal entrance. Inside this walled enclosure is a series of concentric 
courtyards, around the central nucleus— the Hastigiri ‘Hill’— on which is located the 
main sanctum of Lord Varadaraja. There are thus four courtyards in the temple 
and the local Sri-Vaishnavas would add the mddandhis or the main streets around the 
temple as the fifth one. 1 The narrow closed passage immediately around the sanc- 
tum which is known as TinminndUgai is excluded in the reckoning of the prdkaras. 
The first enclosure which is on the ‘hill’ is named Vayyamaligai; the second is called 
the Senayarkontirumut ram; the third Yamunafturaivar-tirumui ram and the fourth or 
the last is known as Ahar-pradakshinam (see Fig. 39, General Plan). 

The first prakara which is on the Hastigiri ‘Hill’ comprises of the garbhagriha 
with its forward complements like the antarala and two axial walled mandapas and 
a pillared mahdmandapa (G.P. Nos. 1 to 9). 2 The garbhagriha is a square cella (3x3 
sq. metres) with the miilabhera of Lord Varadaraja standing majestically in the rear 
half. A narrow antarala or vestibule connects the sanctum to the closed mandapa 
(3.30 x 1.60 metres) in its front. There is a beautiful dvitala vimana of th osala (waggon 
vault) type over the sanctum. 3 It is called the Punyakoti-vimana , which is taken 
to signify the bestowal of countless benefits on the devotee who sees and worships it. 
In front of the mukhamandapa and 1.53 metres lower than the floor-level of the 
sanctum, is the eight-pillared rectangular mahdmandapa (11.15 X 4.60 metres). It is 
a closed hall of granite masonry with its entrance leading us out into the first 
ambulatory which runs around the entire complex described above. This ambula- 
tory is a closed pillared verandah which now affords the devotee the pradakshinapa - 
tha or passage around the sanctum. This is known as the vayyamaligai This term 
is mentioned both in the Guruparamparai of Pinbaligia-Perumal-Jiyar (13th century) 
and an inscription dated A.D. 1560. 4 The word Vayyamaligai means the mansion or 
house on this earth. According to the conception of the Sn-Vaishnavas, Lord 
Vishnu has His residence in the two worlds -Nitya-vibhuti and Lila-vibhuti. The 
former is His original abode in the terrestrial world and the latter is His abode on 
the earth where He manifests Himself m the archa or image form. This abode on 
earth is called in Tamil, Vayyamaligai The roof of this courtyard is supported by 
two rows of pillars which are all of the Vijayanagar type. It is quite likely that, at 
first, it was an open courtyard and in the Vijayanagar days, it was made into a closed 
hall, supported by a colonnade of pillars. The inner faces of the walls of this 
enclosure bear some good paintings of the late Vijayanagar times. 

Unfortunately, there is no inscription or literary evidence to fix the date of the 
present structures of th q garbhagriha and the two ardhamandapas in its front. But 
the architectural features clearly show that they belong to the Chola times and 
probably to the 11th century A.D. This is fully discussed in the chapter on ‘Archi- 

Second Prakara 

On the south-east corner of the Hastigiri hill is a flight of 24 steps which we 
descend to reach the second prakara round the foot of the ‘Hill’. It is an open 

The Lay-out of the Temple and Sequence of Construction 45 

courtyard which runs around the e hilF or ‘malaV and hence known as Malai-pradak- 
shinam. It is also known as the Senaiyarkon tirumurram, as there is a shrine for Senai- 
yarkon or Visvaksena, the mythical Commander-in-Chief of the Lord, on the nor- 
thern wing of the courtyard (G.P. No. 16). Passing along this courtyard, we see 
the high walls of the ‘Hill’ built of well-dressed blocks of stone. Its entire wall- 
space is studded with numerous Chola and later inscriptions which are clearly 
readable from this courtyard. 

This courtyard is enclosed by a double-storeyed cloistered verandah with colon- 
nades of pillars of uniform size (2 metres tall) and design with circular cross-section 
and the typical Chola corbel of the bevelled variety. This verandah may be later 
than its central entrance-gateway which is datable to the 11 th century A.D. There are 
a number of inscriptions in the plinth portions of the gateway, the earliest belonging 
to the 3rd year of Kulottunga I (l e., A.D. 1G73). 5 This inscription does not allude 
to the construction of the gateway or the prakdra and therefore it may reasonably be 
presumed that the structure was slightly older than that date, perhaps contemporary 
with the Narasimha shrine, opposite to it. 

Narasimha shrine 

At the western foot of the ‘hill’ is the shrine of Nrisimha. It is a long but narrow 
shrine with a low ceiling (about 2 metres high) improvised by walling up the front 
portion of the inner core of the hill. It is conceived in the form of a cave in which 
Nrisimha is seated in the yogic form at the far end. The inner faces of the walls of 
this shrine are profusely inscribed— the earliest going to A.D. 1053 which means 
that the shrine in its present form is at least as old as A.D. 1053, if not earlier. 6 The 
garbhagriha, the antardla are all in one and the same level. The pillars of the mukha - 
mandapa are short and thick with heavy tenon-like corbels, typical of the early and 
middle Chola style. The access to this shrine is by a small doorway (2.25 x 1.18 ml) 
on the west. 

In front of this shrine is a sixteen-pillared mukhamandapa of late Yijayanagar 
date. The Vijayanagar state-crest is carved on its pillars. This mandapa is inter- 
posed between the Narasimha shrine and the entrance-gateway to this prdkara. 

The cloistered verandah running along the periphery of the enclosure accommo- 
dates four shrines : one for Danvantri on the south-eastern corner, one for Ganesa 
on the south-west and those of Andal and Malayala Nachchiar on either side of the 
gateway (G.P. Nos. 12, 13, 14 & 15). Andal, or Goda, the divine maiden, who attain- 
ed godhood by her intense devotion and whose Tamil hymns like Tiruppavai are 
sung in every Vishnu temple, seems to have been enshrined sometime in the 14th cen- 
tury A.D. The existence of this shrine in the 15th and 16th century is attested by 
inscriptions. 7 Andal is referred to by her other name Sudikkodutttanachiar. 
From the disposition of the shrines, we can infer that the shrine of Malayala 
Nachchiar is probably as old as that of Andal. The word Malayala Nachchiar 
literally means the ‘consort from Malayaladesa or Kerala country 1 . We do not know 
how and when this concept of Malayala Nachchiar and her consecration in a separate 
shrine on almost equal footing with Andal, came into being. Perhaps, it was a result 
of the brief conquest of Kanchi by the Chera king Ravivarman Kulasekhara in 
A.D. 1316, who performed his second coronation at Kanchi on the bank of the Vega- 

46 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple— Kaiichi 

vati and worshipped in the temple of Arulalapperumal. 8 Probably, Malayala Nach- 
chiar was installed here as a gift of the Chera family to the Lord Varadaraja. The 
reference to Serakulavalli-nachiar in an epigraph of this temple lends plausibility 
to this surmise. 9 A parallel development is reported at Srlrangam. There, a legen- 
dary Chgra king Kulasekhara is said to have given his daughter Serakulavalli in 
marriage to Lord Ranganatha and done extensive constructional activities in the third 
prakara. It is hence known as ‘Kulasekharan Tiruvtdi’. 10 

There are twelve pillared and nine-pillared mandapas attached to the shrines of 
Andal and Malayala Nachchiar respectively. Both of them are considerably later than 
the shrines and belong to the later Vijayanagar times, about the 16th century A.t). 

Third prakara 

An entrance (G.P. No. 17) with a gdpura leads us out into the third prakara 
known as madapalli-prakara as there is the madappalli or the temple kitchen at the 
south-eastern corner of the prakara. It is also called Yamunai Thuraivar tirumu- 
rram i.e., the courtyard of Yamunaithuraivar, so called because Yamunai thuraivar or 
Aiavandar, the great Sri-Vaishnava acharya is believed to have met Sri Ramanuja 
for the first time in this courtyard. This is considered to be a historic meeting, as 
it led to Alavandar’s choice of Ramanuja as his successor at Srlrangam. A number 
of shrines aud mandapas are located in this courtyard. They are : — 

Garuda shrine (G.P. No. 19) 

In front of the gdpura, leading to the Yammaithuraivan prakara and facing the 
main deity, is a small shrine for Garuda who stands with Anjali Hasta , i e., hands 
clasped in worshipful mood. 

Tiru-Anantalvar shrine (G.P. No. 21) 

On the north-western side of this prakara is the beautiful shrine for Anantalvar 
or Adisgsha, the divine serpent on which Lord Vishnu reclines. The shrine faces 
east. It consists of a square garbhagriha , an antardla and a mukhamandapa. There 
are a number of inscriptions on the walls. One of them, on the base of the south 
wall is dated A.D. 1212 (35th year of Kulottunga III). It states that this shrine 
was built by Slyaganga of the Ganga family, son of Cholgndra Simha. 11 He was 
a Ganga feudatory of Kulottunga III. He was known to be the patron of Pavanandi, 
the author of Nannul. 

Karumanikka Perumal shrine (GP. No. 22) 

On the northern side, and in the centre of this courtyard, is the small, but 
beautiful, shrine for Kariamanikka Varadar or Karumanikka PerumaJ facing west. 
The present shrine was probably built by Vikrama-Chola, sometime around his 11th 
year i e., A D. 1129. An inscription in the shrine of the year refers to the king setting 
up the image which was known as Vikrama-Chola-Vinnagar-llvar . The presence of 
this shrine is mentioned in the Guruparamparai of Pinbalagia Perumal Jiyar who 
lived during the beginning of the 13th century A.D. 13 It has a square garbhagriha, 
an antardla and a mukhamandapa. There is no vimana or tower over the sanctum, 

The Lay-out of the Temple and Sequence of Construction 47 

The thousand-pillared mandapa (G.P. No. 23) 

Beyond this and on the north-eastern corner of the prdkdra is the pavilion called 
the Ayirakkdl-mandapam or the hall of a thousand columns, built in two storeys. 
Though there are no thousand-pillars in the hall, it has become a convention to call 
it so. It seems to have been built under the patronage of Pratapa Rudra Deva, the 
Kakatiya king who had a brief spell of power over Kanchi in A.D. 131 6. 13 

On the south-eastern corner of this prdkdra is the madappaUi or the kitchen (G.P. 
No. 24). It is an old structure having a number of Chola characteristics. An inte- 
resting inscription states that the kitchen was built by Naraloka-VTra, the famous 
general and minister of Kulottunga I. The structure is, therefore, datable to the 
latter half of the 11th century A.D. 

Abhisheka-mandapa (G.P. No. 20) 

In a central position of the forecourt of this prdkdra is a fine edifice called the 
abhisheka-mandapa where the tirumahjanam of the utsava Veras (processional deities) 
of Lord Varadaraja and His consorts takes place. It is a pillared hall (10 metres long, 

5 metres broad) closed on three sides with a stepped approach. The structure appears 
to have been built in the early half of the 13th century A.D. From outside, it looks 
more like a shrine than a mandapa, especially because of the presence of the pilasters 
on its exterior walls. An undated inscription records the construction of this 
mandapa by one Elambilakkattu-Nayakar. 14 Since it is an epigraph subjoined to 
the one dated in 21st year of Rajendra III i.e., A.D. 1236, it can be taken to beof the 
same year. On palaeographical grounds too, the inscription may belong to the same 
time. 15 The architectural features of the mandapa also point to the same date. 1 * 
The same inscription informs us that this structure was also known as Devamaradevan. 
The front porch with the balustraded stepped entrance of the mandapa was probably 
constructed in the 16th century by one Alagia-manavala-JIyar, a prominent religious 
leader of Kanchi, who held an important position in the temple. The Kannadi Arai 
or the Mirror-Hall in which the utsava deity stays during festival days and the 
present safe-vault of the temple are located inside this mandapa. 

An interesting epigraph belonging to the time of Ballala III dated S 1282 (A.D. 

1 359) mentions that the Hoysala king seated with his consorts on the throne named 
Viravallalan in the abhisheka mandapa listened to the Tamil hymns of Satagopa 17 
(Nammalvar’s Tiruvoymoli ). 

In front of the abhisheka-mandapa is a large thirtytwo-pillared mandapa with 
fine carvings (G.P. No. 27). When the holy bath to the deity is performed in the 
abhisheka-mandapa, the Sri-Vaishnava devotees assemble here and recite the portions 
of the Purusha Sukta and the Tamil devotional hymns ( Prabhandams ) of the Alvars. 
This is also a structure in Vijayanagar style bearing their royal boar crest on its 

On the northern side of the abhisheka-mandapa is the elevated mandapam called 
the kili-mandapa or the Pavitrotsava mandapa where povitrotsava festival is conducted 
(G.P. No. 34). The vahanas or the God’s processional vehicles are kept in this 
now. The shrine for Rama is on the extreme north of this mandapa (G.P. No. 35). 
It is a structure of the Vijayanagar times. The plinth of the mandapa overlaps with the 
plinth of the abhisheka-mandapa and covers the moulded plinth portions of the latter. 

48 Sri Varadarajaswatni T emple —Kaftchi 

Some of the inscriptions of the abhisheka-mandapa are thus covered by end-portions 
of this mandapa. This clearly proves that the latter was built long after the 
abhisheka-mandapa . 

Shrine of Perundevi Tayar (G.P. No. 28) 

On the western side of this prakara is the shrine of Perundevi Tayar, the chief 
consort of Lord Varadaraja. It is customary to offer worship to this shrine before 
going to the shrine of Varadaraja. While the latter faces west, the former faces east. 
The Tayar shrine is built on an elevated pediment about 3 metres (about 10 feet) 
high reached by a flight of 10 steps. This elevation was given probably to match it 
with that of the sanctum of Her consort, stationed at the height of nearly 14.60 
metres (45 feet) from the ground level. There is an open circumambulation around 
the sanctum and then a cloistered verandah around, a mukha-mandapa close to the 
sanctum and a spacious pillared hall, maha-mandapa in front— all occupying a total 
area of 11.80 $q. metres (G.P. Nos. 29, 30 and 31). 

In general, separate shrines for Devi came to be built in Tamilnad only in the 
later Chola times. 18 In this temple also, the shrine for Tayar seems to have been 
built sometime in the first half of the 1 3th century A.D. It is conspicuous by its 
absence in the early epigraphs. The earliest reference to the shrine is found in a 
record dated A.D. 1236, belonging to Rajaraja III. 19 It registers a gift of 33 heads 
of cattle for a lamp in the shrine of Periapirattiar, the prime consort of Arulalapperu- 
mal. An inscription of the 17th year of the Telugu-Choda chief Vijaya Gandagopala 
dated circa A.D. 1265 also records gift to the same shrine. The Guruparamparai 
prabhavam written by Pinbalagia-perumal Jiyar in the 13th century clearly mentions 
the presence of the shrine. 

The mukhamandapa right in its front (G.P. No. 30) was also constructed some- 
time around A.D. 1259 by one Vanga-Kalingarayan of KappalUr whose portrait- 
sculpture in bas-relief is found in the wall of the mandapa with an inscription 20 
which reads * Kappalur-udayan~vanga-kdlingarayan-Tirumandapam\ The inscription 

does not bear a date, but we know from other sources that he was a feudatory of the 
Pandyan king Vlra-Pandya who came to the throne in A.D. 1253. 21 The construction 
of this mandapa might have taken place a few years later than that date. The archi- 
tectural features of the structure support the date. 

But the original Tayar shrine of the later Chola times was subsequently replaced 
by the existing one, sometime in the latter half of the 15th century A.D., evidently 
under the royal patronage of the Vijayanagar rulers. It is interesting to note in 
this connection that an inscription dated A.D. 1487 refers to the reconsecration of 
the image of Perundevi Tayar. 22 Probably, this was done soon after the construc- 
tion of the present shrine. It is an elegant structure which displays the exuberance 
of the Vijayanagar style of architecture. The vimana over the sanctum is known as 
the j Kalyanakoti vimana and was built by Ettur Kumara Tatacharya in A.D. 1614 
(SI 536) 23 He is said to have covered the vimana with gold-coated plate. Now, 
the copper sheet alone remains therewith a few tinges of gold here and there. 

The mahamandapa to the east (G.P. No. 31) of the Tayar shrine is also a fine 
product of Vijayanagar times. Here is celebrated the famous Mahanavami festival 
on which day Varadaraja and Perundevi are seated in the same pedestal — the only 

The Lay-out of the Temple and Sequence of Construction 49 

day in the whole year when this occurs. This ornamental mantfapa was built by 
Alagia Manavaja Jlyar, the Koil-kejvi (Superintendent) of this temple by about the 
middle of the 16th century. His portrait-figure is sculptured in one of the pillars 
of this mandapa . This mandapa with its typical ornamental double-pillars with the 
rearing horsemen has close stylistic resemblance to the hundred-pillared mandapa , 
in the outer courtyard of the temple, which was also built by the same Jxyar. 

Unjal mandapa (G.P. No. 26) 

A small but noteworthy pavilion in this prakara is the Unjal mandapa located in 
the open courtyard (called Alagiya Manavala tirumurram) adjacent to the Tayar shrine 
(G.P. No. 25). It is a four-pillared pavilion, standing on a high terrace. The 
pillars and the coffered ceiling are minutely carved and display elegance and beauty. 
This is a construction of Vijayanagar times. Their royal crest is boldly carved in 
more than one place on the ceiling of this pavilion. Here, we have a good example 
of intricate chiselling that was adopted by the Vijayanagar artisans, so that the whole 
mandapa resembles a fine feligree work. This mandapa is specifically mentioned in 
an epigraph of Achyutaraya dated in A.D. 1530. 24 

From this courtyard we go to the next, the fourth and the outermost prakara 
passing through a gateway crowned by a gopura (G.P. No. 36). This gateway is now 
known as Tondaradippodi vasal. The correct name seems to have been TodarmaU 
vasal as the statue of Raja Todarmal is kept near this entrance. He did great service to 
this temple by restoring the utsava image of Varadaraja from a forest to which it had 
been previously removed for fear of desecration at the hands of the Muslim invad- 
ers 25 and is kept near this entrance. This gateway and its adjoining compound wall 
can be dated back to the 11th century A.D. , as inscriptions ofKulottunga I dated 36th 
(A.D. 1106) are found on its walls. 26 One of them refers to a grant by the wife 
of Karunakara Tondaiman, the famous general of Kulottunga I. However, this 
enclosure wall, according to the local tradition, was heightened and rebuilt by Alagi- 
ya-manavala Jiyar in the 16th century. The Jiyar’s portrait- sculptures are placed on 
the top of the compound wall at two places. 27 

Fourth Prakara 

We now come to the 4th and the largest courtyard of this temple. This is called 
the Alvdr-pradakshiriam or Alvar-Tiruvfdi , as the shrines of all the Alvars are situated 
in this enclosure. This is a very long and broad courtyard consisting of a number 
of shrines, mandapas , the dvajasthamba, the baliplta, tanks and gardens — all giving a 
magnificent appearance. The shrines of the Alvars and acharyas as also some of the 
shrines like those of Krishna, Varaha, Ranganatha are built along the periphery of 
the enclosure— all of them gravitating towards the main sanctum of the temple at 
the centre. 

In describing the structures of this vast courtyard we can conveniently divide the 
enclosure into four quadrants with reference to two axial lines east-west and north- 
south, cutting across the sanctum, the quadrants — the north-east, south-east, south- 
west and north-west North-east : In this sector is the shrine of Nammalvar which 
faces west (G P. No. 43). It consists of a square sanctum (4.30 sq. metres), an anta - 
rala and a mahamantfapa. There is a beautiful bronze image of Nammalvar for 

SO Srf VaradarajaswSrrti Temple — Kaficki 

whom regular festivals are conducted. From the reference to the popularity of 
Nammalvar’s Tirmoymoli mentioned in the inscription of Ballaja III, we will not be 
wrong if we infer that Nammalvar was already deified here. South-east : In the south- 
east quadrant are shrines for Tirumangai Alvar and Manavala Mahamuni, the 
former facing west and the latter facing north (G.P. Nos. 45 & 46). The Tirumangai 
Alvar shrine has been completely rebuilt in recent years. The shrine of Manavala 
Mahamuni is a spacious building. It appears to have been built in the Vijayanagar 
times, as is indicated by the typical Vijayanagar pillars and pilasters of the shrine 
having pushpa-podigai corbels and a number of typical bas-relief sculptures on the 

An inscription dated A.D. 1555 records an endowment for offerings to Peria Jiyar 
(Manavala Mahamuni) on his birth asterism of Mulam. 28 From this it may be infer- 
red that he was already enshrined, probably, in the present shrine. The architectural 
features tally well with that period. 

Near the shrine of Manavala Mahamuni towards the west are the shrines of 
Tirumalisai Alvar and Ramanuja (G.P. Nos. 47 and 48). From many Chola inscrip- 
tions, we know that offerings were made to many Alvars like Poigai and Bhudam, 
and in all likelihood they along with Tirumalisai were also deified during the same 
time. The present shrine however seems to have been constructed during the 15th 
century under the Vijayanagar patronage. An epigraph of king Virupaksha dated 
§aka 1389 (A.D. 1467) is found on the mandapa in front of the shrine. 29 It records the 
purchase of land for the shrine of Tirumalisai Alvar. From this, we can infer that 
the shrine was in existence even before this date. Next to the shrine of Ramanuja is 
that of Mudal-alvars which is closed now (G.P. No. 49). 

South-west : Vahana mandapa— This is a beautiful pavilion in late Vijayanagar style 
having pillars with rearing horses (G.P. No. 50). It is closely modelled on the design 
of the Kalyana mandapa , situated opposite to it. In the rear portion of this pavi- 
lion are accommodated the shrines of Vedanta Desika, and Lakshmikumara Tata- 
charya (G.P. No. 51). The latter was the manager of this temple during the times of 
Vijayanagar king Venkata I. During the Vaisakha festivals, the utsava deities moun- 
ted on the vahanas would be placed in this pavilion on the return from processions 
and the concluding portions of the Veda and the Prabhandam would be recited 

Tul&bhara-mandapas (G.P. Nos. 52 & 53) 

There are two small four-pillared mandapas , about 12 feet high, on the west of the 
dvajasthamba , These are known as Tulabhara mandapas , probably because they were 
built on the occasion of the Tulabhara ceremony performed by the Vijayanagar king 
Achyutaraya in A.D. 1532. He is said to have weighed himself against pearls ( mukta - 
tulabhara) and given the entire wealth as gift to this temple. These two mandapas , 
almost identical in construction and style, might have been built for this occasion. 
There is a specific reference to the Tulabhara mandapa in his inscription dated A.D. 
15 33. 30 

The Stable maiidapa (G.P. No. 56) 

This mandapa which faces north is a spacious one with high pials on either side. 

The Lay-out of the Tempi <Tarfd Sequence l)f Construction 51 

It consists of long cloistered verandahs with a square in, the centre. 

It has no architectural or sculptural embellishment A*^e vijayanagaj ^royal-crest is 
carved in bold relief at many places on the kodungaf^t '^xQ flexed/C^dice over the 
mandapa. But now the building is in a state of neglect' seems to 
have been used once for shelter for the cows, horses etc/,' to the temple. 
Adjacent to it is the Vasanta-mandapa where the temple-office is now situated (G.P. 
No. 57). North-east : In this sector are situated important shrines, mandapas, tanks 
and gardens. 

Anantasaras — the sacred tank (Fig. 2) 

This enchanting tank occupies a central position in this sector. About 78.6 metre 
long, 60 metre broad, it has well-paved stone steps all around for the devotees to 
have easy access and have a holy dip before entering into the temple. It is quite an 
old tank, mentioned in the Guruparamparai (13th century) and Vedanta Desika’s Satya- 
vrata Mahdtmiya. In addition to the usual Neeral i-mandapa (16 pillared) in the cen- 
tre of the tank, there is another smaller four-pillared mandapa, surmounted by a 
small vimana or tower (G.P. Nos. 67 & 68). It is here that the original but mutila- 
ted mulabhera of Lord Varadaraja called Adi Atti-Varada is made to rest. The stone- 
steps of the tank were repaired and reset under the orders of the Vijayanagar minis- 
ter Ramaraya in the latter half of the 16th century A.D. 

On the western bank of this tank are the small shrines of Krishna and Varaha, 
both facing east and their rear portion going very near but not abutting on the outer 
compound wall of the temple. 

Krishna shrine (G.P. No. 63) 

It has a square sanctum, an antarala and a mukha-mandapa . The sanctum is 
crowned by a vimana , about 25 ft. in height. The architectural style is suggestive of 
the later Pandya period. On its sanctum wall, a fragmentary Tamil epigraph of the 
late 13th century characters belonging to one Maravarman Sundara Pandya is found. 
The wall niches, five in number, are squattish and the pillar corbels show the incipient 
pumunai bracket. This shrine is now without the deity, the utsava idol is preserved 
elsewhere in the temple. The shrine is now used as a store-room for the trappings of 
the temple elephant. 

Varaha and other ruined shrines (G.P. No. 64) 

Further north on the same row are the dilapidated shrines of Lord Varaha and an 
empty shrine— both have square mandapas with the sanctums in their centre. They 
are empty, the deities having been removed to the interior of the temple. . The 
extant structures are devoid of any notable architectural features. They are in the 
normal Vijayanagar pattern and are datable to 16th century A.D. Further north 
also there is a ruined unused mandapa of Vijayanagar times (G.P. No. 68). 

Sr! Ranganatha shrine (G.P. No. 66) 

On the northern bank of the tank Anantasaras stands a solitary shrine dedicated 
to Ranganatha. It is of modest size, and built in the same pattern as the Varaha 
shrine i.e , a small sanctum and frontal porch within a covered mandapa . The large 

52 Sri Varadara jaswami Temple — Kdnchi 

mulabhera of Ranganatha in the reclining posture is a beautiful image. According to 
the Sanskrit inscription of Naralokavira (11th century) already referred to, a shrine 
for Hari (Vishnu) in reclining posture was built by him, and crowned by a vimdna 
with a golden kalasa. But it is difficult to say if this is the shrine under reference. 
The shrine is now without a vimdna . The shrine itself seems to have been rebuilt in 
the Vijayanagar times. 

The Chakrattalvarshrine (G.P. No. 40) 

On the eastern bank of the Anantasaras tank is the shrine of Chakrattalvar or 
Sudarsana, personification of Lord Vishnu’s discus. The shrine seems to have 
been constructed by one Ilaialvan Kaiingarayan of Nettur in the 14th year of Kuldt- 
tunga III i.e., A.D. 1191. The inscription recording this fact calls the deity by its 
Tamil name —■Tini-al i~Al vdr~al i meaning the discus. 32 

The sanctum is unusually spacious here. In the centre of the sanctum is placed a 
large, two-faced and exquisite image of Chakrattalvar. 

Probably because the image is two-faced, the sanctum also has two doorways, 
so that both the faces would be visible to the worshipper when he circumambulates 
the shrine. Similarly, the outer mandapa built around the sanctum has two entran- 
ces— one on the east and the other on the west. 

Both the mandapas are built in the Vijayanagar style, as evidenced by the tall and 
ornate pillars and the Pushpa-podigai corbel. The Vijayanagar state-emblem, the 
boar and daggar motif, is carved prominently on the ceiling of the mandapa on the 

Porramarai tank 

There is a big tank behind the Nammalvar shrine and on the north-east of the 
outer courtyard and near the eastern entrance of the temple. An inscription dated 
A.D. 1544 records a grant of money for the repairs to this tank by one Chennay- 
yangar. 33 The tank is stated to have been first dug by the donor’s great grandfather. 
From this we can infer that the tank came into existence sometime around 
A.D. 1500. 

Dorai Thottam (Garden) 

Immediately on the east of the Chakrattalvar shrine is a vast flower garden of 
the temple, which occupies almost the entire length of the prakdra upto the eastern 
TiruniadiL A variety of flower-plants like the jasmine ( malli ), the rose, nanjdvattai 
(white flowers), besides trees of mango, coconut, jack-fruit are also grown for the 
use in the temple. 

Perundevi Tayar’s c Friday mandapa C is situated here (G.P. No. 42-a). The utsava 
idol of Tayar used to be brought in procession to this pavilion and made to rest here 
every Friday. The annual Davanotsavam (garden-festival) for Lord Varadaraja is 
celebrated here in the month of Chaitra (April). An epigraph of Sadasiva dated 
§aka 1473 mentions the festival in the Vasantha Toppu , in the month of Chittirai. 
Probably, the reference is to this garden. 

In the same garden are situated the two shrines, one for Perialvar and another 
for Tondaradipodi Alvar and Tiruppan Alvar (G.P. Nos. 41 and 42). These shrines 

The Lay-out of the Temple and Sequence of Construction 53 

seem to have been built in the early Vijayanagar period. The presence of the shrine 
for both the Alvars is mentioned by an inscription of Sadasiva dated A.D. 1558 and 
1560 (447 and 448 of 1919). But owing to sheer negligence, these shrines are over- 
grown with vegetation covering the entire structure. Hence, the deities have 
been removed and placed in various other shrines. 

The Kalyana-mandapa (G.P. No. 61) 

Perhaps the most attractive structure in this prakdra is the hundred-pillared kaly* 
dna-mandapa on the south bank of the Anantasaras tank. In accordance with the 
convention, it is placed slightly to the side of the principal entrance to the temple. 
It is a magnificent pillared pavilion with a raised platform for a throne in its centre 
for the reception of the utsava deities of the Lord and His consorts on ceremonial 
occasions. There is a beautiful and small pavilion made of black polished granite 
and placed at the rear bay on a high pedestal. It is here that the utsava deities are 
placed. On certain festival days, religious discourses are given to the people assem- 

The Kalyana-mandapa is an important contribution of the Vijayanagar times. 
The pillars are tall and monolithic and their shafts are sculptured into rich and 
varying patterns like rearing horsemen etc. It is by far the most attractive edifice, 
richly adorned with innumerable sculptures of the Vaishnava pantheon, puranic 
stories, portrait-figures, besides remarkable architecturalmotifs and designs. This 
is discussed in detail in chapter on ‘Architecture’. It appears to have been built 
by Alagia-Manavala-Jxyar in the latter half of the 16th century A.D. evidently under 
the royal patronage. The Jiyar’s portrait-figures are sculptured on two pillars of 
this mandapa. 

Having described the buildings in the four quarters of this outer courtyard, we 
now turn to those on the east-west axial line. There are the Dvajastambha and the 
balipltha (G.P. 38 and 39), the two tall four-pillared mandapas — all in the forecourt 
and the two imposing gateways or entrances, one each on the east and west. 
One remarkable fact that was revealed by our survey plan of this temple is 
that the central axis-line, drawn from the centre of the outer gateways on the east to 
that of the west,, runs along the exact centre of the gateways of all the inner prdkaras 
and the garbhagriha . This clearly shows that in expanding the temple premises or 
courtyards, the central-axial line of the innermost sanctum served as the base line to 
which all the additional gateways were aligned. 

Four-pillared mandapas (G.P. Nos. 59 and 60) 

Situated further east along the central axis are the two tall four-pillared manda- 
pas , crowned by small vimdnas. They have the style and grace of the Vijayanagar 
workmanship. Carved stone rings are seen hanging from tips of the cornices. 
Sculptural representations of some Vijayanagar kings and a few other benefactors of 
the temple are carved on their pillars. The one nearer to the dvajastambha is known 
as Tirukkachinambi mandapa as the figure of this achdrya was carved on all its 

54 Sri V aradar&jaswami Temple— K&fichi 

Outer courtyard 

The entire outer courtyard is enclosed by a high boundary wall ( tirumadil ) on all 
sides with only two openings which form the gateways to the temple-— the eastern 
gate (kilakku-gopura vasal ) and the western gateway (merku-gopura vasal) (G.P. Nos. 
44 and 58). The principal gateway in this temple is the one on the west instead of 
the usual east because the principal deity is facing in that direction. So, necessarily, 
all the important structures like those of Garuda, the dvajastambha, the balipftha 
and the main entrance are on the west. That is the reason why the western gateway 
is kept open for the public, whereas the eastern gateway is always kept closed 
except for a small opening (about 2 metre square) in the closed door. The signs of 
disuse and neglect are evident on the eastern portion of the courtyard. The floor 
is not paved. The tank is in disrepair and wild vegetation have grown everywhere. In 
sharp contrast to this, the western portion of the courtyard is kept spick and span. 

Gopuras : The western gopura, though smaller in size (160 ft. or 53 metres) than 
the one on the east (180 ft. or 60 metres), is better proportioned and more beautiful. 
Both stand on a lofty plinth built of solid stone-masonry which form a stable foun- 
dation for the superstructure, built of brick and mortar. The superstructures which 
are pyramidal in shape rise in several storeys which are composed of a series of 
diminishing tiers. The western gopura has seven storeys, while the eastern one has 
nine. But, while the horizontal and vertical arrangements seem to be well-balanced 
in the western gopura , it is not so in the eastern one, where there is a pronounced 
emphasis on the verticality. 

Fortunately, there are a number of inscriptions on the plinth portions of the 
western gopura , giving us clues to its probable date. The earliest of them is dated 
§ 1296 (A.D. 1374) and belongs to Kampana Udaiyar, while another belongs to 
successor Harihara and dated § 1325 (A.D. 1403). This gopura thus belongs to 
the early Vijayanagar period in point of time though in style it is still rooted in the 
late Chola or Pandya pattern. But the eastern gopura is much more evolved and 
resembles closely the tall gopura of Ekam bares varar temple at Kanchi which was 
built by Krishnadeva Raya in the first half of the 16th century A.D. 

Before concluding this chapter, we may refer to one important verse of Manavala 
Mahamuni in his Kanchi Divya Desa Sangraha Slokamdlika in which he has 
described the important shrines existing in this temple during his days 34 He lived 
between A.D. 1370 and 1445 and in this verse we get a fairly good picture of this 
temple for that period. The items of structure he has mentioned and the present-day 
equivalents are : 

Present equivalents Names used in the vei 

(1) Gateway 

(2) Balipitha 

(3) Anantasaras tank 

(4) Venugopala 

(5) Pattarpiran or Perialvar 

(6) Gnanapiran 

(7) Nammalvar 

(8) Kaliyan (Tirumangai Alvar) 

... SrimatDvaram 
. . . Panindr ahrad am 

Gopinam Ramanam 
... Battanatha 

... Y ar ahavapusham 

... Satavarinam 

... Kaliripum 

The Lay-out of the Temple and Sequence of Construction 55 


Baktisarar or Tirumalisai Al.var 







Mudal Alvars 


Munivaran Adyan 





Abhisheka mandapa 



Perundevi Tayar 




































Punyakoti-vimana and the 


Punyakotyam Hari 

Lord therein 

From the order of shrines he has mentioned, we can easily infer that he has des- 
cribed the temple right from the principal gateway i.e., the gateway on the west to 
the sanctum sanctorum. In all likelihood, there was only one gateway to this temple 
during his time because the present gateway on the east and the gopura over it can 
be ascribed only to the first half of the 16th century. After mentioning the Maha- 
balipxtha, he describes the shrines in the outermost court i.e., the fourth prakdra in 
the order in which one would see during circumambulation. After mentioning 
the Anantasaras-tank, he mentions the shrines of Venugopala, Varaha, Perialvar, 
Nammalvar, Tirumangai Alvar, Tirumalisai, Ramanuja, and Mudal alvars — 
all these are now within the fourth prakdra. Then at the entrance to the inner 
prakara (III prakara), he mentions the dvarapalakas, which are still there. The 
shrines mentioned by him in this prakara are : Perundevi Tayar, Anandalvan, 

Chakrattalvan, Rama, Kariamanikkapperumal and Garuda, besides the abhisheka- 
mandapa and the madapalli (kitchen). The reference to the Chakrattalvan in this 
connection is interesting. Probably, originally this shrine was in the third prakara 
and later on in the Vijayanagar times, it was built in its present position i.e., in 
the fourth prakara. Manavaja Mahamuni then describes the next inner prakdra 
(II prakara) beginning with Nrisimha. Therein, as he circumambulates, he mentions 
the shrines of Andal, Senainatar, Karigiri or the Hastigiri hill, the Punyakoti-vimana 
and the Lord therein— which all tally precisely with the disposition of the structures 
as they stand today. 

Some of the omissions in this description are also significant. For example, the 
absence of reference to the Kalyana mandapa or Vahana-mandapa in the outermost 
prakara is quite natural for, as shown earlier, they are the products of the later 
Vijayanagar period. 

Similarly, while he has mentioned the Punyakoti-vimana, he does not refer to the 
Kalyana koti vimdna over the shrine of Perundevi Tayar. It is in keeping with our 

56 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple—Karlchi 

evidence that the Kalydna koti vimdna was erected only in the beginning of the 17th 
century by Tatacharya. 

One important fact that we know from Manavala Mahamuni’s description is that 
the general outer plan of this temple in its present form with all its four pffikaras had 
already taken shape. All the important Vaishnava Alvars were already deified. This 
is in conformity with the epigraphical evidence cited earlier. 

The description and study of the genesis of the structures of the temple can be 
concluded by outlining the probable sequence of constructional development : 

I stage : The temple was of humble or modest proportions during the time of 
Bhudattajvar, i.e., about the 7th century A.D. There are no structural or inscrip- 
tional vestiges of this period. 

II stage : A thorough reconstruction of the temple into a bigger complex some- 
time around the middle of the 11th century A.D. during the time of Rajadhiraja I 
and his successor Kulottunga L The inscription of the former dated A.D. 1050 is 
found intact inside the sanctum of Nrisimha shrine. It mentions the presiding deity, 
Tiruvattiytlr Alvar. From the inscription, we can infer that the shrines of Nrisimha 
and the main sanctum were already there. Probably, the latter with its forward 
complements like the two ardha mandapas and the maha mandapa were built in this 

The reign of Kulottunga I witnesses remarkable development. In his time, two 
more prakdras or courtyards (the second and the third) were added together with 
their entrance gateways and towers. Of these, the second prakara seems to have 
come up slightly earlier, sometime before A.D. 1073 (3rd year of Kulottunga I) for 
an inscription of that date is found on the basement of the entrance tower. Probab- 
ly, a few years hence, the third prakara with its gateway was built, because inscrip- 
tions on the walls there are dated in the 30th, 31st and 36th years of Kulottunga I 
(i.e., A.D. 1100 to 1106). This prakara wall with the kitchen in the south-east corner 
was built by Naralokavira, the famous minister of Kulottunga I as attested by 
his beautiful Sanskrit inscription. The inscription specifically refers to the construc- 
tion of a lofty, stone-built prakara- wall that cannot be destroyed by time. The inscrip- 
tion is probably datable to the 30th year of Kulottunga I. The compound wall of 
this courtyard was reconstructed by Alagia Manavala Jlyar in the 16th century. 

III stage : Subsequently, various structures were built within these prakaras at 
different times in the 12th and 13 centuries, such as the Kariamanikkaperumal 
shrine in the 11th year of Vikrama Chola i.e. A.D. 1129; the Anantalvar shrine 
in A.D. 1212; the abhisheka-mandapa in A.D. 1236; the Tayar shrine also round 
about the same time. Probably, at this stage, the fourth prakara was an open one, 
not enclosed as it is now. The Anantasaras tank was there at its north-eastern side. 
The shrine of Chakrattalvar or Sudarsana which was originally built somewhere 
inside, was probably rebuilt in its present position. The Krishna shrine on the west 
bank of the tank was built probably in the latter half of the 13th century as already 

Towards the end of the 13th century or, more probably, in the first half of the 
14th century, the fourth courtyard was enclosed by a compound wall with a gateway 
and gopura on its west. The eastern gopura had not been built at this stage. 

' * IV stage : The outline of the temple complex having been completed, towards the 

The Lay-out of the Temple and Sequence of Construction 57 

end of the 13th century A.D. this stage only witnessed further amplification by the 
construction of a number of pillared halls, pavilions and ancillary shrines, besides the 
reconstruction of some of the existing structures. This was the period when there 
was a great increase in the numerous temple-rituals and festivals which necessita- 
ted many additional structures. Moreover, the Vijayanagar monarchs who zealously 
fostered the best Hindu traditions evinced sympathetic interest in fulfilling the reli- 
gious aspirations of the people. Thus, under their patronage were built the tower- 
ing gopura on the east; the Kalyana-mandapa , the Vahana-mandapa , the Tulabhara - 
mandapa , the Unjal-mandapa and the Vasantha-mandapa, and probably separate shrines 
for Alvars and acharyas. This was indeed the brightest period in the history of 
the temple, when there was a great spurt in the celebration of festivals, in the elabo- 
rate arrangements for offerings, in the various benefactions of lands, jewels etc., as 
will be shown in the sequel. 


1. It is interesting to note in this connection 
that Appayya Dikshitar (16th century 
A.D.) mentions the presence of five praka- 
ras and compares them to the five kd'sas 
or outer covers which encase the ultimate 
reality or the Paramatma (Varadaraja- 
stavam, v. 10). 

2. G.P. refers to General Plan shown in Fig. 

3. The word vimSna connotes the entire tem- 
ple m the general sense, but it is used 
especially in later South Inidan context 
only to refer to the superstructure over 
the sanctum from the prastara to Sikhara. 
It has been used in this sense even in 
some silpa texts. Sikhara in the South 
Indian context only denotes that part of 
the vimana between the griva and the 
stupi. For elucidation of these points see 
K.V. Soundara Rajan, The Matrix of 
South Indian Architecture , JIH , December 
1965, pp. 792-793. 

4. 448 of 1919. 

5. 522 of 1919. 

6. 519 of 1919. 

7. 447 of 1919. 

8. E.I. IV, No. 145. 

9. 479 of 1919. 

10. S. Rajan, Srfrangam and Af vdrs and Achar- 
yas > Srlrangam, 1953, p. 15. 

11. 590 of 1919. 

12. Vide Chapter V. 

13. EJ. VII, p. 132; Arujalanadan Kdyilil 
Seyyum tu uppani dyirakkal-tirumandapam . 

14. 595 of 1919, S.I T.L No. 382. 

15. S.LTJ. No. 382. 

16. Chapter IX. 

17. 572 and 585 of 1919. 

18. K.A.N. Sastri : The Chofas (1955). 

19. 609 of 1919. 

20. This inscription has not been noticed in 
the Epigraphical Reports so far. This 
was noticed in situ by the writer. 

21. This information is found in an inscrip- 
tion vide 59 of 1919— V. Rangacharya, 
Top List , Vol. I, 341. 

22. 648 of 1919. 

23. 650 of 1919; ARE 1919-20, p. 115. 

24. 646 of 1919. 

25. See Chapter III for further details of this 

26. 631 of 1919. 

27. For the illustration see Plate in Chapter 


28. SOT, I. No. 390, p. 375. 

29. 543, 546 of 1919. 

30. SOT ; I. 406, p. 395. 

31. 656 of 1919. 

32. 487 of 1919. 

33. 484 of 1919. 

34. Srlmat Dvaram Mahadvi Balipilagriyam 
Panindrahradam Gopindm Ramanam Vara- 
havpusham Sri Baiianatham Munim Sriman 
tam Satavairinam Kaliripum Sri Bhaktisa- 
ram Munim Purnam Lakshmanaydgmam 
Munivaran Adyan Atha Dvarapan Sriman- 
manjana mandapam Sarasijam Hetisa- 
Bhdgisvaram Ramam Nilamanim Mahana- 
sayaram Tharksyam Nrisimha Sriyam 
SenSnyam Karibhltaram Thadupari Sri- 
puny akoiy am Harm Thanmadhye varadam 
Ramasahasaram Vande Thadiei Vratam . 




Early Tamil works of the Sangam period attest to the popularity of Vishnu- 
worship in the Tamil country. The Tolkappiam mentions four Gods as the recogni- 
sed guardian deities of the Tamil land, one each for the four geographical divisions 
of the land viz , the forest -land presided over by Mayon (Vishnu), the hilly tract by 
Seyon (Muruga), cultivated plains by Vendan (Indra) and the coastal strips by 
Varuna. 1 Th q Purananiiru mentions Siva, Balarama, Vishnu and Muruga as the four 
principal Gods. 2 In the Paripadal also Balarama and Krishna are mentioned 
together. 3 

The Tamil epic Silappadikaram makes clear reference to the Vishnu temples at 
Vengadam, Arangam, Tirumal-irum-solai. 4 That these three places were 
leading centres of Vishnu-worship is attested by the great importance attached to 
them by the Vaishnava saints, the Alvars. So far as Kanchi is concerned, it is spoken 
of as a centre of many religions. 5 The Vishnu temple at Vehka in Kanchi seems to 
have been well-known in the Sangam period. The Perum-Panarruppadai, one of the 
Sangam anthologies called Pattupattu or Ten Idyls , makes a pointed reference to the 
Vishnu in reclining position at Vehkanai or Vehka. 6 It is very likely that the other 
Vishnu temples at Kanchi came to prominence in the wake of the great Bhakti 
movement propagated by the Alvars or the Vaishnava saints sometime between the 
sixth and the eighth centuries A.D. Like the Saivite Nayanmars, the Vaishnavite 
Alvars toured extensively in South India, addressing their soul-stirring songs to the 
idol-manifestations (( archayatara ) of Vishnu of the various places. This movement 
gave a fresh impetus to the growth of Vishnu-worship in the Tamil country and the 
places sung by them came to be known as the Divyadesas or the holy places which are 
now counted as 108 in number. In Kanchi alone there are eighteen such shrines 
sung by the Alvars and Sri Varadarajaswami is one among them, having been sung 
by Bhtidattalvar, one of the earliest Alvars. As already noted, the Alvar mentions 
Him as Attiyuran after the place. Because of the Alvar’s praise the place came to 
be known as TiruvattiyUr or sacred Attiy ur, later on. 7 There is nothing to indicate 
that it was a prominent temple in the beginning. On the other hand, from the 
works of the other Alvars, it is seen that Vehka was the most prominent Vishnu 
temple at Kanchi. Both Poigai and Pey Alvars frequently refer to Vehka and rank 
it with other shrines like Srfrangam and Vengadam etc. For instance in verse 77, 
Poigai mentions four places in which Lord Vishnu is manifest in four different 
postures— standing at Vengadam, seated at Vinnagar, reclining at Vehka and walking 
at KovalUr. 8 Similarly Pey Alvar a contemporary of Poigai and Bhhtam makes 
many references to Vehka and ranks it with Vengadam, Srirangam, Kudandai 

60 Sri Varadardjaswdmi Temple— K&Hckl 

(Kumbakonam), Vinnagaram etc . 9 Another Alvar, Tirumalisai, was associated 
with the temple of Vehka to which he was deeply devoted. He has sung about the 
temple with great ecstasy. So, the Sangam poem Perumpanarruppadai and the hymns 
of the Alvars quoted above, clearly indicate that Vehka was the most prominent 
Vishnu temple at Kanchi. 

In subsequent times however, i.e., in the age of the Acharyas, the modest 
temple of Attiyur grew in importance and in the course of time completely over- 
shadowed the other Vishnu temples of Kanchi. Known as Hastigiri, it became one 
of the three most important places for a Sri-Vaishnava. The three in their 
order of importance are Koil, Tirumalai and Perumal-koil, which are res- 
pectively Srlrangam, Vengadam and Hastigiri at Kanchi. These three are consi- 
dered the holiest of the holies. Hastigiri attained this eminent position mainly due 
to its association with the life and activities of Sri Ramanuja, the propounder and 
the establisher of the Visishtadvaitic philosophy. A galaxy of eminent acharyas 
noted for their piety and literary accomplishments, some of whom were elder (like 
Tirukkachinambi) and some younger contemporaries of Ramanuja (like KtarattaJ- 
var) were attracted to this temple. 

Ramanuja spent the most formative years of his life here and is said to have 
received injunctions from Lord Varadaraja through Tirukkachinambi which served as 
the guideline for Ramanuja’s Visishtadvaitic philosophy. Ramanuja himself con- 
sidered Hastigiri as one of the four most important places which a Srl-Vaishnava had 
to meditate during the daily Sandhya-pmytxs, the other three being Srlrangam, 
Vengadam and Yatisailam or Tirunarayanapuram in Mysore. All these factors 
naturally bestowed on the temple a position of importance in the eyes of his followers. 
Moreover, Sri Varadarajaswami temple was one of the first to receive the impact 
of Ramanuja’s teachings and reforms relating to the form of worship, the code of 
religious conduct and procedures regarding festivals etc. It was hence looked upon 
as one of the "model-temples’ to be followed by the numerous smaller shrines in 
other towns and villages. 

Subsequent to Ramanuja, the temple not only maintained its eminent position 
but also registered further progress and reached the zenith of glory during the 
Vijayanagar period. Eminent acharyas like Nadadar Ammal, Vedanta Desika, 
Manavala Mahamuni have paid their homage to Lord Varadaraja, the presiding 
deity of this temple. Members of several distinguished achdrya pwruy/zA-families, 
and Jlyars (ascetics), were connected with this temple. Several seminaries or 
mathas were situated in this temple for the propagation of Ramanuja-darsana. 

Ramanuja’s school of Vaishnavism is called the Sn-Sampradaya or Sri-Vaishna - 
vism and its philosophy is known as the Visishtadvaita or qualified non-dualism. 
The latter term is explained elsewhere in this chapter. The significance of the term 
Srt-Vaishnayism may briefly be explained here. It signifies only a special facet of 
Vishnu-worship, already popular in the theistic works like the Paripadal and the 
works of the Alvars. In this scheme Sri or Lakshmi plays an important role. In 
a sense, Sri as the Purushakara or mediatrix dominates the conception. She serves 
as a link between the devotee and the Lord and recommends even a sinner for the 
Lord’s mercy. Her position as the sharer of all powers and responsibilities with 
Her consort Narayana is emphasised by the prefix Sn in the words Sn-Vaishnavism 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Sri Vaishnavism 61 

or Sn-Sampradaya . She is not only the mediatrix but also first in the line of precep- 
tors or dchdryas . It is the belief of the Sn-Vaishnavas that the divine teachings of 
the Panchar atr a were transmitted by the Lord to Sri who in turn communicated 
them to Viswaksena or Senainatha, who passed them on to Nammalvar. Thus, the 
line of Sri-Vaishnava preceptors begins with Sri and includes Viswaksena, Nammal- 
var and many successive dcharyas. Ramanuja comes eighth in this line. Subsequent 
to Ramanuja, the line divides itself into two, one representing the SrT-Bashya or in 
the popular parlance the Northern School and the other representing the Prabhandic 
or the Southern School. 

The association of Sri Varadarajaswami temple with the Vaishnava saints and 
teachers is studied under three sections. 

Section 1 


Sources : The inscriptions of this temple, though very valuable in many other 
respects, are not of much help to us regarding the lives and activities of the early 
dchdryas like Tirukkachinambi, Kurattalvar or even Ramanuja. It is indeed a puzzle 
why the contemporary epigraphs which furnish us with numerous details of kings, 
nobles and their gifts are so silent about such eminent religious leaders who have 
dedicated themselves to the cause of Srl-Vaishnavism. We do, however, get some 
useful information regarding the installation of Ramanuja’s image in this temple, 
the provisions for propagating his tenets etc., but they are comparatively scanty 
and they hardly do justice to the great missionary work he did. So, one has neces- 
sarily to depend on the traditional works like the Vaishnava Guruparamparas or 
hagiologies, supplemented in a few cases by the compositions of the dcharyas them- 
selves. For the period subsequent to the 15th century, however, the inscriptions 
are extremely useful. A number of acharya-purushas , Jiyars and other leaders, and 
their connections with the temple, are recorded. 


Among the elder contemporaries of Ramanuja, Tirukkachinambi was known to 
be most deeply attached to the service of Lord Varadaraja. He was bom in 
Pundamalli, about 20 miles east of Kanchi in the Vaisya (Chettiar) family. It is 
said that every day he used to take flowers to Kanchi for Lord Varadaraja. He 
did ei alavatta kainkarya ” (fanning service). In course of time, he won the unique 
reputation of the only person who could converse with Lord Perarulala. Humble 
and devoted, he was venerated by all. When he talked, people considered that the 
Lord spoke through him. He was revered by all people to whom he was a 
rare jewel among men living at Kanchi. Once, he went to Srirangam, which was in 
those days the headquarters, as it were, of Vaishnavism, and met Perianambi 
(Mahapurna) and Alavandar, who praised his services to Perarulala. After the 
formal initiation, Alavandar conferred on him the ddsyandma peraruldladdsa i.e.. 
the servant of Perarulala. After spending some time at Srirangam in the service of 
his preceptor, he returned to Kanchi and resumed his service there. Another title 
which is said to have been conferred upon him by Lord Varadaraja was “Gajendra- 

62 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple— Kaftchi 

dasa”. He is said to have founded a temple for his favourite deity at Pundamalli. 

Ramanuja (circa 1017-1137 A.D.) 

Among the four main centres of his activity (Srirangam, Tirumalai, Kanchi and 
Melkote), Ramanuja seemed to have had special attachment to Kanchi and the 
Varadarajaswami temple because he spent his early and most formative years here. 
His disciple Tiruvarangattammudanar emphasised this point when he called him by 
the appellation " Ten Attiyurkalalinaikil punda-anbalan” , meaning one who served at 
the feet of the Lord Attiyur. 10 

Ramanuja was born in Sriperumbudur in 1017 A.D. His father imparted to him 
preliminary education. After the latter’s death, Ramanuja moved to Kanchi along 
with his wife and mother. There is a tradition that he lived in the first house on the 
north-western end of the Sannidhi Street on the east of the temple. He studied 
Vedanta under Yadavaprakasa, a great Advaitic scholar at Kanchi. Ramanuja’s 
thirst for knowledge and sincere approach soon made him a favourite student and 
disciple of Yadavaprakasa. But, as time passed on, Ramanuja found Yadavapra- 
kasa’s explanations or interpretations of Vedanta unacceptable to him. On one or two 
occasions, he modestly put forth his view which the teacher considered an affront 
to him. He regarded Ramanuja a heretic and working against the hitherto accepted 
notions of advaita or non-dualism. Yadavaprakasa is said to have even plotted to kill 
Ramanuja while on pilgrimage to the north. But differences in interpretation of con- 
cepts like “Brahmam” again arose and Ramanuja had to leave the school politely. 
Straight he went to Tirukkachinambi, the pious and venerable saint doing humble 
fanning service to Lord Varadaraja. He requested him to accept him as a disciple. 
Nambi told Ramanuja that he was not well-versed in the Sastras and had no formal 
education and was only doing some bodily service to the temple. For Ramanuja, 
however, true deyotion to God and not mere knowledge was the real index of great- 
ness. Intensively moved by Ramanuja’s sincere approach, Nambi asked him to bring 
daily a jarful of water from a well, known as the c sala-well’, for the worship at the 
Varadaraja temple which Ramanuja faithfully carried out. Even today, this practice 
of bringing water daily from the same ‘sala-well’, about two miles away, is continued 
in this temple. This is in accordance with the Vaishnavite principle that bodily service 
or kainkarya to one’s personal God would give a sense of humility necessary for 
true devotion. 

One important episode mentioned in the Vaishnava hagiology is that Lord Vara- 
daraja chose Tirukkachinambi as his medium to convey to Ramanuja the six famous 
tenets of Visishtadvaita, which served as the guideline for Ramanuja’s teachings. 
Tirukkachi Nambi advised Ramanuja to seek guidance under Peria Nambi at 

Meanwhile, Peria-nambi with his wife was coming towards Kanchi to meet 
Ramanuja. They met each other at Madurantakam, about 40 miles south-east of 
Kanchi on the main road to Srirangam The initiation ceremony took place there, 
after which they all returned to Kanchi. Ramanuja set apart a portion of his own 
house for them to live in and looked after all their comforts. He studied the Tamil 
prabhandams at the master’s feet. Though Ramanuja rose above all caste distinc- 
tions, his wife did not keep pace with her husband’s liberal and enlightened views. She 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Sri- Vaishnavism 63 

picked up quarrels with Peria-nambi’s wife on trivial matters which made Peria- 
nambi and his wife quit their house and return to Srirangam. Ramanuja was 
disgusted with the petty-mindedness of his wife and felt deeply distressed for causing 
difficulties to his Guru. Later on, he renounced the home and became a sanydsin 
(ascetic). He came to be known as Ramanujamuni. He had his own matha , where 
his nephew Kandadai Mudali-Andan and Kuresa or Kurattalvar joined as his 
disciples. Thereafter, they became inseparable companions of Ramanuja, taking 
part in religious and intellectual pursuits. Yadavaprakasa, it is said, also accepted 
the Visishtadvaita philosophy and became a Yaishnavite. He was given the name 
Gdvinda Jiyar. He also wrote a book ‘Yatidharmasamucchaya’ . Ramanuja’s fame 
spread far and wide; his path of devotion and scholarship were universally ack- 

Meanwhile, Peria-nambi who was at Srirangam wanted to instal Ramanuja as his 
successor-head of the Sri-Vaishnava monastery {matha) at Srirangam and thus fulfil 
the desire of the departed achdrya — Alavandar. Peria-nambi sent Tiruvarangaperu- 
ma} Arayar (Vararanga) to Kanchi for inviting Ramanuja. Arayar was specially sent 
for this because, he could sing his prayer beautifully before Perarulala and who would 
be moved to grant the desired boon, namely, sending Ramanuja to Srirangam. Ara- 
yar succeeded in his mission. Ramanuja accompanied by his companions Mudali- 
andan and Kurattalvar and Arayar left Kanchi and settled down at Srirangam. He 
then completed his studies under his teachers, namely, Tiruvarangapperumal Arayar 
and Tirumalai Andan at Srirangam. He also went to TirukkottiyUr (in Ramana- 
thapuram district) and learnt the sacred Tirumandiram from Tirukkottiyur-nambi. 
Thus, Ramanuja had the unique opportunity to study different aspects of the religious 
lore from Peria-nambi, Tirumalai- nambi, Tirukkottiyur-nambi, Tirumalai Andan and 
Tiruvarangapperumal Arayar who were all the disciples of the great Yamunacharya 
or Alavandar. With this rich legacy and his own in-born genius, Ramanuja was 
considered eminently fitted to occupy the seat of the Achdrya at Srirangam adorn- 
ed by such worthies like Nathamuni, Alavandar and Peria-nambi. 

Srirangam became thenceforward the chief centre of his activities. He made 
some wholesome reforms in the temple there, which are graphically detailed in the 
koil-olugu , the temple-record of Srirangam . 11 The other two temples in which he 
is said to have introduced some administrative or organisational reforms were Tiru- 
malai and Tirunarayanapuram (Melkote ). 12 Though Kanchi did not figure as pro- 
minently in his later life as before, the Guruparamparai mentions that during his 
visits to Tirumalai and North India in connection with the collection of manuscripts 
for writing his Sri Bdshyas , he visited Kanchi to seek the blessings of Lord Perarulala 
and Tirukkachi-nambi. Further details of Ramanuja’s life like his flight to the 
Mysore country consequent on the fear of Cho|a persecution, his conversion of the 
Hoysala king to Vaishnavism, his composition of the magnum-opus the Sri Bashya 
commentary etc., are too well known . 13 He became the leading light of the Vaish- 
navite world by his teachings and reforms which had far-reaching effect on the sub- 
sequent history of SrT-Vaishnavism in South India. 

The three important acts of Ramanuja were : firstly , he refuted the mdyavdda of 
Sankara and interpreted the Brahmasutras and Upanishads and the Bhdgavat Gitu in 
the light of his own Visishtadvaitic system; secondly , he popularised the Divya-prabhan - 

64 Sri Varadzrajaswdm: Temple — Kaflchi 

dams or the divine songs of the Alvars; and thirdly , he inspired and trained a line 
of worthy disciples to propagate his tenets. 

The essential tenets of Ramanuja’s Visishtadvaita philosophy may briefly be re- 
called : Narayana, the Supreme Lord, was endowed with all auspicious qualities like 
omniscience (jnd.ia), strength (bald), sovereignty (aisvarya), constancy (virya), power 
(sakti) and lustre ( tejas ), capable of granting salvation to those who surrendered 
upto Him absolutely. 14 In the place of abstract, impersonal God or Nirgiina-Brah* 
mam of the Advaita school, Ramanuja justified the need for a personal God, possessed 
of all good qualities. He repudiated the doctrine of illusoriness of the material world 
and the finite self and postulated that ultimate Reality is one in which the material 
world and the finite self find a necessary place. He emphasised the importance of 
self-surrender or prapatti as a means to receive the grace of the Lord. Just as Para - 
matma or the Supreme Lord is personal and individual, the Jiva or the soul is also 
personal and individual by nature and once emitted, lives for ever. It is never merg- 
ed in the Brahmam or Bhagavan. 15 His doctrine of Bhakti and Prapatti had a 
powerful influence on the outlook of the Srl-Vaishnavas . His work Gatyatraya is an 
outstanding example of prapatti literature which contains his devotional out-pour- 
ings on Lord Narayana and His consort Lakshmi. His philosophy inspired many 
devotional poems during and after his life time, such as KUrattalvar’s Pancha - 
stavams, one of which is the famous Varadarajastavam, on Lord Varadaraja. Ramanuja 
advocated the path of devotion and self-surrender for all castes and even arranged 
for the entry of outcastes into the temple at Melkote. He accepted Tirukkachi- 
nambi of the Vaisya caste as his teacher. He had non-Brahman discipleslike Pillai- 
Urangavalli-dasar. He gave them a definite place in the Vaishnava fold by encourag- 
ing them to wear the pundra (mark on the forehead), to dress themselves like the 
Sri - Vaishnavas and to study the Divya-prabhandams . 16 

Ramanuja did much to popularise the compositions of the Tamil saints and 
particularly the TiruvoymolJ of Nammalvar which contained the truths and tenets of 
the upanishads , 17 In this he was only continuing the work started by Nathamuni 
and Alavandar. Ramanuja authorised Kurukesa or Ten-kurukaipiran-pillan, son of 
Tirumalai-nambi, to compose an authoritative commentary on Tiruvoymoli which the 
latter did. It was known as the Irayirappadi or the Six-thousand, It was the first com- 
mentary which was followed by a number of others like the Nine-thousand, the Twelve- 
thousand, the Thirty six-thousand etc. It was Ramanuja, who was again largely 
responsible for arranging to chant the Tamil Prabhandams in the temples along with 
the vMic hymns during the period of worship and festivals. 18 Though the practice 
might have started first at Srirangam, it soon became an essential feature in all 
Vishnu temples. Today, the Ci Iyal Ghosti” or the Prabhanda- reciters are given 
precedence and they form the vanguard of the temple processions. Sri Varadaraja- 
swami temple is one of the few centres where there had been an unbroken line of 
the Prabhanda-reciters and even today, one can see one of their largest and the most 
impressive gatherings during the annual Vaisaka and other festivals. From the 
inscriptions of the temple, we learn that even in A.D. 1129 during the life time of 
Ramanuja the first Tamil Prabhandas of Poigai Alvar and Bhudattalvar were 
popular here. 19 A record of the 14th century refers to the recital of Tiruvoymoli of 
Satagopa at this temple. 20 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Sri- Vaishnavism 65 

The third important act of Ramanuja was the creation of a set of spiritual leaders 
or acharya-purushas to propagate the Visishtadvaitic philosophy far and wide. He 
appointed seventyfour Simhdsanatfpatis out of whom he authorised a few to devote 
themselves for the exposition of his Sri Bdshya in Sanskrit and the rest for the 
exposition of the Tamil Prabhandams. This clearly shows that Ramanuja recognised 
the importance of the Tamil Prabhandams which alone could be easily understood 
by the vast majority of Tamil population being in their own mother-tongue. It was 
also the duty of the acharya-purushas to maintain the form of temple-worship as 
modelled by him. 

Subsequent history has shown that the members of these distinguished families 
rendered and are still rendering great service to the cause of spreading Ramanuja’s 
teachings. They have carried his faith to the distant villages and homes not only in 
Tamil country but far beyond in the Andhra, Mysore and Upper India too. At 
important Vaishnavite centres at Tirumalai, Snrangam and Kanchi, the scions of 
the families are still engaged in the service of the temple and dissemination of reli- 
gious knowledge etc. The association of many of these acharya-purushas with 
Kanchi will be mentioned in the sequel. 

Ramanuja’s special attachment to Lord Varadaraja 

Ramanuja’s special devotion to Lord Perarulala of Kanchi was already briefly 
mentioned. A few more incidents can be recounted to illustrate this point. The 
Guruparamparai informs us that when Kurattalvar’s eyes were plucked by the Choja 
king, Ramanuja exhorted the former to do prapatti to Lord Varadaraja and compose 
a laudatory poem on the Lord. Kurattalvar is said to have composed his famous 
Varadarajastavam , a string of hundred beautiful verses on the deity. They are 
recited in the Varadarajaswami temple on certain important occasions. 

Another contemporary of Ramanuja was YajnamUrti who was first an Advaitin 
and later brought to the Vaishnava fold by Ramanuja. As Ramanuja could do this 
only by the grace of Arulala or Devaraja, he called his new convert as Devarajamuni 
or Arulalapperumal-Emberumanar and assigned him the duty of offering daily puja 
or worship to Lord Perarulaja kept for his (Ramanuja’s) private worship (aradhana). 

Ramanuja’s deification in the temple 

The impact of Ramanuja’s life and activities on the temple can hardly be exagge- 
rated. His association with the temple in the formative years of his life and his 
frequent visits to the same gave considerable importance to the temple m the esteem 
of his associates and devotees. Many of the reforms in the temple set-up and form 
of worship he introduced at Snrangam had their influence in this temple as will 
be seen in later chapters. 21 In recognition of his great services, Ramanuja was 
deified in the Varadarajaswami temple within 55 years after his demise. This is 
attested by a record of Kulottunga III dated A.D. 1191 which informs us that an 
influential Chola chieftain by name Ilaialvan Kalingarayan of Nettur consecrated the 
image of Emberumanar (Ramanuja) and donated all the taxes accruing from two 
villages to meet the expenses for the offerings to the deity. 22 The same donor Ilaial- 
van made special provisions for the Bhdshyavritti or exposition of Rmianuja-bhdsya . 
Ilaialvan was another name of Ramanuja. The donor was evidently a great devotee 

66 Sn Varadarajaswclmi Temple— Kanchi 

of Ramanuja, whose name, Tlaialvan’, he adopted as his own. 

Section 2 


Many of Ramanuja’s younger contemporaries like Embar, Battar, Kurukesa and 
Nanjtyar who lived during the latter part of the 12th century, continued to serve the 
cause of Sri-Vaishnavism as expounded by their great master Ramanuja by writing 
commentaries and discoursing on the subject to their followers. Indeed, the post- 
Ramanuja period was marked by a growing interest among his followers in the 
interpretation and popularisation of his teachings which came to be known as 
Ramanuja-darsanam. A series of commentaries on Nammalvar’s TiruvoymoU and 
the prabhandams of the other Alvars were written in accordance with Ramanuja’s 
avowed desire to popularise the works of the Tamil saints. Another development 
which gradually reared its head and which Ramanuja could hardly have foreseen, 
was the emergence of certain differences of opinion and interpretation among his 
followers concerning chiefly (1) the prapatti-marga or the path of surrender and (2) the 
relative importance of the Sanskrit and Tamil texts, besides various other matters. 
Some of the followers gave importance to the Sanskrit texts and specialised in the 
study and exposition of Sri Bashya, while others specialised in the Tamil prabhan- 
dams of the Alvars. In course of time, two distinct modes of expounding the 
Vaishnava-darsana or system came to be recognised. They were the Sri- B ashy a- 
pravachana and the Dravidamnaya or the Bhagavat- Vishya-pravachana. The former 
consisted of the study of vedanta-sutras with the help of Ramanuja’s commentary 
on them. Sri-Bhagavat-Vishya-pravachana meant largely the study of the Nalayira- 
Divya-prabhandam and the TiruvoymoU in particular, with the various commentaries 
that appeared in a quick succession. But these two modes of exposition gradually 
gave rise to the appearance of two separate schools with two paramparas or hagiolo- 
gies or succession lists. 

In course of time, the former came to be known as the Sanskritists or the Vada- 
kalai school and the latter as the Prabhandic or the Tenkalai school. Kanchi was the 
centre of the Vadakalai school while Srirangam was the centre of Tenkalai school. 
But it should be remembered that the differences in interpretation or language did 
not lead to any immediate schism or cleavage in the Sri-Vaishnava fold which had the 
common object of serving the Ramanuja- dars ana. Even regarding the texts, the diff- 
erence was one of preference. In fact, most of the followers of Ramanuja like Embar, 
Battar, Kurukesa, Nanjlyar, Nampillai Per iavachan Pillai, Pijjai Lokacharya, Vedanta 
Desika and others were well-versed m both Sanskrit and Tamil lore. In their works, 
they struck a balance by adopting the manipravala style, a free mixture of Sanskrit 
and Tamil words, which was peculiar to this period. So, the view of some scholars 
that the acharyas of the Tenkalai school like Nampillai or Pillai Lokacharya were 
not well-versed in the Sanskrit texts is as untenable as to say that Vedanta Desika 
did not know the Tamil prabhandams. The works of the acharyas of Prabhandic 
school were a series of attempts to interpret the Tamil hymns in terms of the known 
Sanskrit authorities and hence, their works were full of citations and parables from 
the Gird, the Rdmayaya, the Mahabharata etc. Similarly, Kurukesa and Vedanta Desi- 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of St i-Vaishnavism 67 

ka of the so-called Vadakalai group wrote works in Tamil-— the former his commentary 
on TiruvoymolJ and the latter several poems. Nor was there any antagonism between 
these two groups. In fact, except for the past two or three hundred years when the 
differences assumed a sectarian bias, the post-Ramanuja period was marked by a 
remarkable unity of purpose in spite of diversity of interpretation. The period was 
conspicuous by the absence of any sectarian rancour within the Vaishnava fold such 
as the one witnessed in more recent years. The doctrinal differences that were sim- 
mering got crystallised into two distinct groups or sects with two different sets of 
Guruparamparais or lines of dcharyas , two different types of sect-marks etc., much 
later than Vedanta Desika’s time. 23 In the post-Manavala Mahamuni’s time, we 
can see the traces or the beginning of the cleavage though they were by no means 
sharp even then. In many of his commentaries Manavala Mahamuni quotes as his 
authorities not only from the works of the dcharyas of his own school but also from 
those of Nadadur Ammal, Srutaprakasika Battar, Vednata Desika and even the lat- 
ter’s son, Naina Varadacharya. From this, one thing is clear that even during his time 
the differences did not assume any sectarian rift. His upadesaratnamalai gives the 
hierarchy of the dcharyas of the prabhandic school, whereas the Guruparamparai of 
the III Brahmatantra-svatantra Jiyar gives the list of dcharyas of the Vadakalai 
school. Upto Ramanuja there is agreement between the two versions. Only after 
Ramanuja, the hierarchy is divided into two lines, 

Ramanuja (circa A. D. 1017-1137) 

Prabhandic School 


Battar (12th century) 

Nanjlyar (12th century) 

Nampillai (13th century) 

Periavachan Pillai (13th century) 

Vadakku Tiruvidi Pillai (13th century) 


Pillai Lokacharya (13th & 14th 

century — elder con- 
temporary of Vedanta 

Manavalapperumal Nainar (do) 

Tiruyoymoli Pillai (l 4th century) 

Manavala Mahamuni (A.D. 1370-1443) 

The dcharyas of the Prabhandic school mentioned above settled down at Sruangam 
and successively held the apostolic leadership there, while Kanchi became the centre 
of the Northern or Sri Bdshya school. We know for certain that the last four dcharyas 

Sri Bashya School 


Kurukesa (12th century) 


Engal Alvan (12th c.) 


Nadadur Ammal (13th c.) 


Atreya Ramanuja (13th c.) 

Vedanta Desika (A.D. 

| 1268-1369) 

Naina Varadacharya 

(14th century) 

68 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple — Kanchi 

of the Vadakalai school viz., Nadadur Animal, Atreya Ramanuja, Vedanta Desika 
and his son Naina Varadacharya had Kanchi as the centre of their activities. 

The main doctrinal differences between these two schools may be summed up 
here. 24 

(i) Though both the schools were agreed on the necessity of prapatti or saranagati 
i.e., self-surrender unto God as the path to salvation, the Vadakalai school held 
that self-effort was needed on the part of the devotee. He should hold to God even 
as the young monkey holds to the mother ( Markatanyaya or the monkey analogy). 
The Tenkalai view is that God’s grace ( kripa ) is spontaneous, unconditional and 
irresistible ( nirhatuka ) and descends on the living beings even if there is no self- 
effort on the latter’s part. It is like the case of the mother-cat which holds its 
young one m its mouth even though there is no effort on the latter’s part ( Mdrjaran - 
yaya or analogy of the cat). 

(li) Another doctrinal disagreement concerns the position of Sri or Lakshmi. 
According to the Northern School, Lakshmi, like the Lord, is indistinguishable 
from the Lord, equally infinite and illimitable. She too can grant final emancipation 
or moksha. The Southern School holds her to be a finite being {Jim), though divine. 
She is a superior servant of God. She is the mediatrix ( Purushakdra ) between the 
sinning folk and the Lord. Because of infinite mercy she recommends to the Lord to 
grant salvation, but she cannot grant it herself. 

(iii) Another important point of difference is in connection with the caste 
system. The northern school holds that while all the Bhagavatas are to be treated 
with reverence, worshipping them should only be in strict accordance with the status 
of their birth. It also holds the view that people of the lower caste are not entitled 
to learn mulamantra and pranava. But the southern scho'ol holds liberal views on 
these matters. 25 According to it, all Bhagavatas (devotees) are to be considered 
equally high, born without distinction. True devotees, to whichever caste they 
belong, are worthy of honour and worship as acharyas. The varna or status of 
birth will wither away, the moment one becomes a blessed soul (Jati nasikkum). The 
leaders of this school gave greater prominence to the Tamil saints— alvars— most of 
whom belonged to the lower caste. Similarly, acharyas belonging to lower castes 
like Tirukkachi-nambi, Pillai-Urangavalli-dasar are frequently praised in their 

To these doctrinal differences were added a few more minor social and ritual 
differences too. The differences are on matters like the efficacy of the pilgrimage, 
the details of ceremonials to be observed on certain occasions, the shape of the sect- 
mark, etiquette, the relation between the ascetics (sanyasins) and householders, the 
tonsure of widow etc. 26 On the whole, the prabhandic school held more progres- 
sive views on these matters. For example, it prohibited the tonsure of the widows 
as an obnoxious practice. 27 

But curiously, in the early stages, the doctrinal differences took a keen edge only 
in academic level. There was never a check on free social harmony at home or 
temple. But only in the recent centuries when the differences in the other forms 
like the caste-mark, attachment to the rituals, assumed a greater importance, the 
division has widened to make them almost two sub-castes. Particularly, the scram- 
ble for control over the temple is conspicuously seen in the 19th century records. 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Sri-Vaishna vism 69 

With these brief introductory remarks, let us review the activities of these acharyas 
in relation to the growth of Sri-Vaishnavas at Kanchi in a chronological manner. 

Battar and Kurukesa were younger contemporaries of Ramanuja. The former 
was the son of Kurattalvar and is said to have succeeded Ramanuja in the apostolic 
seat at Srirangam. 28 He wrote a commentary on the Vishnu- Sahasranama besides 
Sri Ranganatha stotram. In the latter work he briefly mentions the Varadaraja 
temple at Kanchi or ‘Karigiri’ as one of the important places dear to Ramanuja’s 
heart. 29 Kurukesa or Pijlan was the author of the first commentary on Tiruvoy- 
moU known as the Six-thousand. Battar’s disciple was NanjTyar who was an Advaitin 
in his early days and was brought to the Vaishnava fold by Battar. NanjTyar 
also wrote a commentary on the TiruvoymolJ known as the Nine-thousand. Engal 
Alvar or Vishnu Chittarya also lived in the latter half of the 12th century. 

In the first half of the 13th century lived Nampillai, the disciple of NanjTyar. 30 
He was a greater scholar and thinker, whose discourses on TiruvoymolJ were 
committed to writing by his disciple Vadakku-tiru-vidipillai. Nampillai’s commen- 
tary came to be known as the Idu or the Thirtysix-thousand. The Idn is noted for 
its remarkable literary flourishes and incisive comments and is therefore very popular 
with a large section of the Sri-Vaishncrras . Under the inspiring leadership of Nam- 
pillai, his two other disciples Peria Vachan Pillai and PinbaJagiya-perumal-Jiyar did 
signal service to the cause of Sri-Vaishnavism, the former by composing a compre- 
hensive commentary on all the Four-thousand prabhandams of the Alvars and the 
latter by writing his famous Guruparamparai, a succession list of Acharyas upto the 
time of his teacher, Nampijlai. This work, it is important to remember, does not make 
any difference between the two schools and indeed deals with the life of Kurukesa 
and Engal Alvan as well. There are a number of references in this work to the 
, Kanchi temple, particularly, in connection with the life-history of Ramanuja and his 
contemporaries which have been noted earlier. 

A contemporary of Nampillai was Nadadur Ammal (circa A.D. 1200-1250) or 
Varadacharya who was a disciple of Engal Alvan. He was the grandson of Nadadur 
Alvan the nephew of Ramanuja and one of the seventyfour Simhasanadhipatis. 
Nadadur Ammal is said to have preferred his native place Kanchi for his residence 
and activities. He is said to have given regular discourses on the Sri Bashyas in the 
premises of the Varadarajaswami temple at Kanchi. The substance of his lectures 
and interpretations of Ramanuja’s Sri Bashya were committed to writing by his 
talented disciple Sudarsana-Battar. The work was called the Srutaprakasika. It 
was an important contribution which made the understanding of the Sri Bashya 
easier. Nadadur Ammal’s other works were : the Tatvasaram, Prapannaparijatam 
and the Paradhvdti Pahchagam. In the first work of the above list, he summed up 
the teachings of the Upanishads. In the Paradhvati-Panchagam , he refers to Hastigiri 
(Varadarajaswami temple) as one of the three most important among the 108 holy 
Vishnu shrines. 31 

The son and successor of Vadakku-tiruvidi Pillai was the famous Piljai Loka- 
charya considered a leading light of the Prabhandic school. According to the 
traditional account, he was born in Kali 4366 or A.D. 1265. A profound scholar 
and prolific writer, he composed several treatises like the famous Tattvatraya, 
Mumukshupadi and Sri Vachana Bhusharia wherein he has dealt with the doctrjne 

70 Sit Vai adm ajaswami Temple —Kdilchi 

of prapatti in all its bearings. His Sri Vachana Bhushana is an important work 
which contains a number of terse aphorisms (in the manipravala style) on various 
subjects such as Sri as the mediatrix ( Purushakdra ), the value of bodily service (kain- 
karya) to God, devotion to God, devotion to the teacher ( acharyabhimana ), the 
import of prapatti , the greatness of the archa or the idol form etc., which have all 
become the foundation for the Tenkalai school. His writings are considered to be 
the authoritative interpretation of the tenets of the Alvars and Ramanuja by the Sri- 
Vaishnavas of the Prabhandic school. Pillar Lokacharya’s younger brother Alagiya- 
manavala perumal Nainar was another distinguished scholar and commentator who 
did much to popularise the greatness of Alvars and the tenets of the Prabhandic 
school, wrote commentaries on Tamil hymns like the Amalanadipirdn and Andal’s 
Tiruppavai. But his best-known work is the Achdrya-Hridayam in which he brilliantly 
expatiates on the heart (Hridaya) of Nammalvar. In it, while writing about the Alvar’s 
eclectic outlook, which knew no caste or class restrictions, the author cites many 
classic examples where the true devotees belonging to low station in life have been 
honoured and worshipped by people of higher class. Sri Rama regarded the tribal 
chief Guga as his brother. Similarly, the person of humble origin who did ‘panippu 
kainkarya * at Tirumalai (Pushpa-mandapa) was venerated by the ruling king Tondai- 
man; Tirukkachi-nambi who did the fanning ( alavatta ) service to the Lord at 
Hastigiri (Tyaga-mandapa) was honoured by Ramanuja as his guru; Tiruppan-alvar, 
an outcaste who sang his soul-stirring songs addressed to the Lord Ranganatha at 
Srirangam (Bhoga-mandapa) was venerated by Ulogasaranga-Mahamuni. 32 

Nadadur Ammal’s disciple was Atreya Ramanuja alias Appillar who lived in 
Kahchi about the middle of the 13th century A.D. He also wrote a commentary on 
the Sri-Bashya. He was the maternal uncle of the great Vedanta Desika. The 
latter in his works frequently expresses his indebtedness to his uncle and guru. In 
one context he says that he is merely giving outward expression to what is inscribed 
in his mind by his acharyaP 

Ved^ata Desika (AD. 1268-1369) 

The traditional date of Vedanta Desika’s birth is Kali 4371 or § 1190 correspon- 
ding to A.D. 1268. He is said to have lived for a full span of 100 years. He was 
bora in Tappil, a suburb of Kanchipuram. His father Anantasuri was an acharya - 
purusha. His mother Totadriyamma was the sister of Atreya Ramanuja. The latter was 
a renowned scholar and Venkatanatha studied under him and mastered different aspects 
of the religious literature at a comparatively young age. He was endowed with 
retentive memory, critical mind and gift for interpretation. Added to this was his 
innate poetic talents. All these made him a versatile writer whose works were 
characterised by beauty of diction and deep spiritual insight. He was a poet, philo- 
sopher and controversialist who won coveted titles like the Kavitarka-simha, the lion 
of poets and philosophers and Sarvatantra-svatantra , the master of all science and 
knowledge. His life-story can briefly be sketched here. 

. As a young boy, Venkatanatha used to accompany his maternal uncle AtrSya 
Ramanuja to the discourses given by Nadadur Ammal. He showed extraordinary 
grasp of even complicated subjects and mastered the Vedas, the Vedangas, agamas 
etc. He is said to have entered into a controversy with Vidyara^ya and defeated 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Sri- Vaishnavism 71 

him. He also arbitrated in the polemical dispute between Vidyaranya and 
Akshabyamuni. 34 He visited places like Tiruvendipuram, Srimushnam and 
Srlrangam. It was at Srirangam that he defeated the Advaita scholar Krishnamisra 
and the titles of Vedantdcharya and Sarvatantra-svatantrar were conferred on him. 
He composed his famous works like the Satadushini , Sankalpa-Silryodaya, Yadava- 
bhyitdaya, Yatiraja-saptati , Srl-stuti , Bhu-stuti etc. It was during his stay at Sriran- 
gam that the place was overrun by the Muslim invaders who sacked the temple. 
This compelled many Sri-Vaishnava leaders to leave the place or commit self-immola- 
tion. Pillai Lokacharya saved the idol of Ranganatha by taking it to the forests, 
while Vedanta Desika had to retire to Satyamangalam near Coimbatore. He is said 
to have saved the copy of the Srutaprakasika commentary on the Sri-Bashya. He 
came back to Srirangam and spent his last days peacefully. 35 

His intimate connection with Kanchi and his special love for Lord Varadaraja, 
are evident in many of his works. Though he has composed verses on many temples 
at Kanchi such as Tiruvehka, Dlpaprakasar, Ashtabhuja, he had special attachment 
for Lord Varadaraja. His Varadaraja-Pahchasat contains fifty stanzas in praise of 
the Lord which would serve as an ideal prapatti prayer-song for the worshippers. 
It is also a good elucidation of the philosophy of Visishtddvaita. This work of 
Desika is recited on certain important occasions in front of Lord Varadaraja. 36 
Rut perhaps one of the most heartfelt tributes he had paid to his favourite deity is 
to be found in his Vairagya-Pahchaka which he wrote on the occasion when he 
declined the rewards and invitation from the contemporary Vijayanagar court. 37 
His Tamil poem Adaikkalapattu also embodies his boundless love for Lord Aruiala 
to whom he does prapatti. He says m the first verse, that even the deep devotion or 
Baktiyoga has failed to give him the salvation. He ran about all directions and 
finally fell at the feet of Lord Perarujala of Attigiri in Kanchi, which is the most 
important among the seven sacred cities. To show the value of the prapatti-mdrga 
or the path of surrender, he says that he fell as the famous crow (Kakasura) fell at 
the feet of Rama. 38 Another verse cites the well-known stories of Vibhishana, 
Draupadi, Gajendra and others who attained salvation by absolute surrender unto 
God. 39 In another verse, he recommends the study of the Vedas, the Tamil 
prabhandam of the Alvars and the works of the Acharyas like Ramanuja to know the 
greatness of the prapatti-mdrga . 4o His remarkable mastery of the Sanskrit and Tamil 
lore is attested by his sumptuous works. He gave discourses on the Sri-Bashya thirty 
times. One of the important services rendered by Desika was his saving of the Sruta - 
prakasika , a commentary on Ramanuja’s Sri-Bashya by Srutaprakasika Battar from 
the chaos that followed the Muslim sack of Srirangam in A.D. 1328. This is the 
reason why Vedanta Desika’ s name is gratefully invoked before the commencement 
of the study of Srl-Bashya by all the Srl-Vaishnavas without any sectarian difference. 

Alvars’ Tamil prabhandams were also dear to him. He pays his tribute to those 
saints in his Dravidopanishad-sara . He pays tribute to the prabhandam- reciters of 
Tondaimandalam in one of his poems thus : 

“Long live the Brahmins of Tondaimandalam 
Long live those who are well- versed in the spotless Tamil Vedas.’* 41 
The Vadakalai version of the Guruparamparai mentions that the Sri- Vaishnavas of the 
Tenkalai school were not favourably disposed towards Vedanta Desika and they 

72 Si i VaraJa, -djamdmi Temple— Kanchi 

boycotted him. But scholars of the Tenkalai school like Sri P.B. Annangarachariar 
consider this story as nothing but a figment of imagination and that it is not support- 
ed by facts. 42 They point out that neither the works of Desika nor his contempo- 
raries have any reference to such rivalry. The earliest and the reliable biography of 
Vedanta Desika is only the Acharya Champu written by an admirer of Desika and 
it does not contain any such story. It does not contain even a hint of any sectarian split 
in the Srl-Vaishnava fold, and much less of any ill-will among sects. 43 Their conten- 
tion is that there were no Vadakalai-Tenkalai sects in the times of Desika and that 
all the Sri-Vaishnavas held him in high regard and esteem. In the entire gamut of 
literature of the Tenkalai teachers, it is pointed out, there is not even a hint of disres- 
pect for Desika. On the other hand, it is stated they have paid encomiums to him. 
PiJJai Lokacharya has composed a taniyan , laudatory verse in praise of Vedanta 
Desika. Manavajamuni, in many of his commentaries, quotes many authorities 
from the works of Vedanta Desika, whom he respectfully calls “Abhyuktar”. Subse- 
quent Tenkalai dcharyas like Prativati Bhayankaram Annan and Doddayacharya have 
paid their homage to him. 

Anandalvan of Mysore, a celebrity of the Tenkalai school who lived in the early 
part of the 19th century and Kunrapakkam swami, another reputed scholar of the 
Tenkalai school who lived later, have extolled the greatness of Desika and made 
frequent references to his works in their own writings. The latter respectfully hails 
him ‘Jayati Bhagwan Vedantarya-sa-tharkikakesari 5 in his work Tatva-Ratndvali. 
Even on doctrinal matters like prapatti, the position of Lakshmi etc. , the Tenkalai 
school claims that Desika’s writings were in support of their own school. It is 
further pointed out that because of their continuous pratibhakti or devotion to Vedan- 
ta Desika, that the Tenkalai school installed his image in almost all the temples 
under their control and celebrated festivals for him. All these are pointed out to 
show that Desika was equally dear to them and the Vadakalai version of any antago- 
nism is anachronistic and fictitious. They point out that Vedanta Desika lived in 
perfect harmony and amity with his contemporary dcharyas who had equal venera- 
tion for him. Vedanta Desika has, in his works, paid tributes to the Srl-Vaishnava 
luminaries of the Prabhandic school at Srirangam. It was this abiding love and 
regard for these dcharyas that made Vedanta Desika deeply yearn for his return to 
Srirangam, after he had to leave the place during the Muslim attacks on the temple. 
He gave expression to this intense longing in one of the verses in his famous poem 
Abhfdastavam : 

‘‘Oh Lord ! Let me reside in Srirangam near 

the great ones who are mutualwell- wishers. 5 ’ 44 
He had great admiration for the Purvdcharyas like Nampiljai, Peria-vachan 
PiJJai and PiJJai Lokacharya from whose works he has drawn inspiration. At several 
places he has approvingly quoted from the commentaries of Peria Vachan Pillai 
whom he endearingly calls as ‘acharya 5 . 45 From the foregoing discussion it can be 
inferred that though there were two different schools of thought with regard to some 
doctimal matters, there was no mutual livalry or competition. Indeed, till recently, 
both the "schools were considered complementary to each other— one specialising in 
exposition of the Sanskrit and the other in the Tamil prabhandams for the eslablish- 
, ment of the greatness of the Visishtadvaitic philosophy. This state of mutual respect 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Sn-Vaishnavism 73 

continued even upto the end of the 18th century A. D. But m the very nature of 
things, the tenets of the Prabhandic school became extremely popular w ith the vast 
masses of the people because of the use of the Tamil language and the celebration of 
the festivals of the Tamil saints and various other reasons which are explained in a 
later context. 

Nayana Varadachariar 

Vedanta Desika’s son Nayana Varadacharya alias Kumara Vedantacharya also 
lived and studied at Kahchi. He studied under his own distinguished father and 
began to give discourses of Sri-Bashya. He wrote a commentary on Adikarana 
Saravali. He is considered the last of the Vadakalai acharyas . His life period was 
during the 14th century and with him the pUrvacharya line among the Vadakalais 
came to a close. 


Another disciple of Vedanta Desika was Brahmatantra Svatantra swami who 
spent his early years at Kahchi and later settled down at Tirupati. He figures in an 
epigraph at Varadarajaswami temple dated A.D. 1359 as the head of a matha in 
Kahchi. 46 It is said that this matha was later on shifted to Tirupati and then to 
Melkote (Mysore State) where it later became the famous Parakala-matha. This is 
discussed fully elsewhere. Brahmatantra-Svatantrar figures both in the Sri-Bdshya 
Guruparamparai and the Bhagavat-Vishya paramparaf 7 

Prativati Bhayankaram Annan 

Kumara Vedantacharya or Varadacharya had a disciple— Prativati Bhayankaram 
Annan — who learnt Sri Bashyam under him and then wrote his commentary on it 
named Sukapakshiyam , besides a few more like the commentaries on the Bhagavata 
and the Ashtasloki. He was one of the leading scholars of the time living at Kahchi. 
Then he lived for some time at Srlrangam and wrote his Saptati Ratnamdlika , the 
jewel-garland of 70 verses in praise of Vedanta Desika. 48 He later on studied Thirty- 
six thousand commentary (on the Tamil prabhandani) under Manavala Mahamuni, 
became one of the latter’s eight chief disciples known as Ashtadiggajas appointed for 
the propagation of the Prabhanda creed. He composed many laudatory verses in 
praise of Manavala Mahamuni which are regularly recited by the Tenkalai people. 

Manavala Mahamuni (A.D. 1370-1443) 

The life and activities of Manavala Mahamuni constitute another milestone in 
the history of SrI-Vaishnavism. By his writings as well as his organising genius, he 
has left indelible impression on a vast majority of Sri-Vaishnava devotees. 

Manavala was born in A.D. 1370 at Alvar Tirunagari the birth place of 
Nammalvar, 49 He was the disciple of Srisailesa alias Tiruvaymolippillai, who 
was in turn the disciple of the great Piljai Lokacharya. After leading married life for 
some time, he became an ascetic and settled down at Srlrangam where he had his 
matha. 50 He was known as the Peria Jiyar. 51 His erudition and dedication to the 
cause of spreading the message of the Alvars and Ramanuja won wide recognition. 
His discourses at Srirangam temple became popular and the people were delighte^ 

74 Sri Varadariijasw&mi Temple— KMchi 

to hear liib brilliant exposition of the Alvars’ hymns m all their ramifications. Eminent 
scholars like Koil Kandadai Annan, Prativati Bhayankaram Annan and Erumbi- 
appa and ascetics like Vanamamalai Jiyar became his disciples. 

Once he visited Kanchipuram and stayed there for a year to complete the Srl- 
B ashy a studies under Kidambi Nayanar, a distinguished scholar at Kanchi. He gave 
a series of discourses in the temple of Tiruvekha. He worshipped Lord Varadaraja 
and paid his homage to him by composing his Devaraja-mangalam. It contains 12 
Sanskrit verses which describe the divine origin of the deity and the benign 
qualities of Lord Varadaraja. 52 

Manavala Mahamuni’s chief contribution lies in the popularisation of the Alvars’ 
Divya-prabhandams and the commentaries thereon like the Idu-Thirtysix thousand. 
It is said that the latter work was confined to a few private hands and it was he who 
popularised it. He also added a glossary to it called Idu-Pramanatirattu. He also 
wrote a series of illuminating commentaries on the esoteric aphorisms of Pillai 
Lokacharya like the Sri-Vacana-Bhushana , Tatvattriyam , Rahasytrayam , Alagia 
Manavala Nainar’s Acharya-Hridayam , Amudanar’s Ramanuja-Nurrandadi. In 
order to popularise the works of his predecessors, he wrote a number of 
“digests” or Tirattu , like the Idu-Pramana-tirattu, Tat vatraya-pramana-tira\tu 
etc. Besides, a full poem on Ramanuja’s greatness, Yatiraja-Vimasati, he 
wrote a short poetic biography of the Alvars and Acharyas, entitled the Upadesa - 
ratnamdlai . 33 Written in limpid and moving style, this poem has become famous and 
is recited on important occasions in almost all Vishnu temples, including Varadaraja- 
swami temple. It is a fine poem of 73 stanzas expatiating on the spiritual greatness 
of the Alvars and their works and the masterly commentaries written by the 
Prabhandic acharyas. Because of his unparalleled service to the cause of propaga- 
tion of the liberal doctrines of the Alvars, Manavala Mahamuni is given a special 
place of honour in the temples, and his presence and blessings are invoked before 
the commencement of the recital of the prabhandams. Laudatory poems written by 
his disciples — like the Varavaramuni-Sadakam by Erumbiappa, Yatindrapravana-pra - 
hhavam by Pillai Lokam Jiyar— clearly show that he was held in veneration in his own 
life-time as an avatara (incarnation) of Ramanuja. 

There is a separate shrine for Manavala Mahamuni in the Varadarajaswami 
temple and a regular ten-day annual festival is conducted in the Tamil month of 
Aippasi on his birth asterism. 

The popularity of the Prabhandic school and Manavala Mahamuni’s 

Thus, from the foregoing account, it can be seen that one line of acharyas or 
preceptors showed a marked preference to the study and exposition of the Srl-Bashya 
in the light of the ancient Sanskrit texts, whereas the other line displayed a strong 
attachment to the study of the Tamil verses of Nammalvar and other Alvars. The 
leaders of the former school were undoubtedly men of great learning and character, 
recognised by all as the authoritative exponents of the Vedic and the P uranic lore. 
But the great emphasis they laid on the strict observance of the daily rituals like the 
japa , homa etc., enjoined by the Sdstras, their concentration on the Sanskrit texts and 
their orthodox and conservative social views inevitably made their tenets more 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Sri- Vaishnavism 75 

exclusive. On the other hand, the Southern or the Prcibhandic school ad\ocated a less 
ritualistic and more devotional and popular approach to religion. They gave great 
prominence to the Tamil saints and their inspired hymns which brought them closer 
to the vast majority of the non-Brahmin community. 54 The festivals they organised 
for the Tamil saints many of whom were from the lower castes were participated 
with great enthusiasm by the common folk who lavished endowments for the same. 
As has been observed by Prof. P.N. Srinivasacharya, ‘The chief contribution of 
Tenkalaism to the cause of SrI-Vaishnavism consisted in its democratic dissemina- 
tion to all people of the truths of the darsana confined till then to the higher castes.” 53 

Moreover, the Prabhandic school laid greater emphasis on Kainkarya or personal 
service to God in the idol ( archa ) form in the temple as against karma or performance 
of ritualistic duties like homa , japa etc. This brought them closer to the temples and 
their services. To such a popular creed, Manavala Mahamunfs writings and organising 
genius gave a further impetus. He gave a permanent organisational basis to it by 
appointing authorised teachers known as Astadiggajas 56 in different parts of the Sri- 
Vaishnava world from Mysore to Kanyakumari. These leaders “made the Prabhan- 
dic cult highly prosperous throughout the land. Theird escendants have carried on 
the torch of learning and teaching. The celebrated monasteries of Yanamamalai, 
Tirupati and other places have produced great men of attainments and character who 
made the tenets of Varavaramuni popular in the courts as well as in the ordinary 
households. 57 It is no wonder that a vast majority of the Vishnu temples came under 
their spell. Sri Varadarajaswami temple is no exception to this general rule. 

Manava]a Mahamuni’ s deification in the temple 

His tenets and teachings were popular at Kahchi also which led to his deification 
in the Varadarajaswami temple sometime towards the end of the 15th century or the 
beginning of the 16th century. An inscription dated A.D. 1555 records endow- 
ments to various alvars and acharyas in the temple during their Tirunakshatram or 
birth-star. 58 The list is exhaustive and includes all the twelve alvars and the follow- 
ing acharyas : 

Tirukkachi Nambi 

(birth star Mrigasirsham ) 


( -do- 

Tiruvadirai ) 


( -do- 

Hastam ) 


( -do- 

Anusham ) 

Peria Jiyar 

( -do- 

Mulam ) 

Peria Jiyar was another name for Manavala Mahamuni whose birth-star was Mulam. 
This epigraph clearly shows that Manavala- Mahamuni was held in high esteem and 
ranked with great acharyas like Emberumanar and Nathamuni, even as early as 
A.D. 1555. His deification might well have taken place considerably earlier than the 
date. Another inscription dated S 1504 (A.D. 1582) records an endowment for 
various festivals including the one in honour of Manavala-mahamuni on the birth 
anniversary falling m the month of Arpasi ( Manavdla-mahamuni-arppasi-mula Sirappu ). 59 

A copper-plate grant dated A.D. 1724 records endowment of villages for various 
charities in the temple including the feeding of devotees in the shrine of Peria Jiyar 
during the annual festival ( Peria Jiyar Sannidiyil Nadakkira Nitya tariyaradanai ). 60 

The deification of Manavala-Mahamuni and continuous endowments for the celebra- 

76 Sri Varadard jasn dmi Temple— KMchi 

tions of his birth-da} and the conspicuous absence ol mention of any of the acharyas 
of the Vadakalai school in any of the inscrptions of this temple may perhaps go to 
show the growing influence of the Prabhandic school in this temple. 61 

Section 3 


With Manavaja Mahamuni we come to the end of the line of Purvdcharyas. From 
this period onwards i.e., from the middle of the 15th century A.D., the history of 
Sri- Vaishnavas has to be reckoned by reviewing the services of a number of distinguish- 
ed Acharya-purushas and other Vaishnava leaders. Another important development 
was the great spurt in the activities of the Jxyars or ascetics, many of whom were 
appointed to look after the proper conduct of worship in the temples. A number 
of seminaries or mathas like the Alagiya-manavala-Jlyar-matha, Van-Satagopa- 
matha and the Vanamamalai-matha gave an organised lead to the Sri-Vaishnavas and 
ministered to their religious needs. Besides these, there were a number of local 
mathas . In Kahchi too, there were a few mathas attached to Sri Varadarajaswami 
temple mainly for the propagation of Ramdnuja-darsana . The work of the mathas will 
be reviewed in a later context. We will now refer to the various Srl-Vaishnava leaders 
associated with this temple from about the 15th century A.D. This period, it is 
worthy to note, was specially conducive to the growth of Vaishnavism because of the 
ardent enthusiasm and patronage of the Vijayanagar kings, who were devoted Vaish- 
navas. Though helpful and symathetic to all other religions, they developed special 
affinity to Vaishnavism and extended their patronage to the acharyas and 

institutions on a large scale. The Vijayanagar kings and nobles vied with one an- 
other in extending their patronage on a lavish scale to the Sri- Vaishnavism and their 
institutions. For Sri Varadarajaswami temple, it was indeed a prosperous period, 
as it received enormous gifts by way of land, money, jewels, vehicles ( vahanas ) etc. 
Many of its elegant structures like the beautiful Kalydna mandapa , the Kalyanakoti 
vimdna , the eastern gopura , the vahana-mandapa , the imjal-mandapa , the Tula- 
bhdra-mandapa etc., were constructed during this period. Another notable develop- 
ment is the enormous increase in the celebration of festivals not only for the main 
deity but also for all the Alvars and acharyas . Offerings in honour of Tirukkachi 
Nambi, Kflrattalvar, Manavala Mahamuni are frequently referred to in the epi- 
graphs of the 16th century. In short, it can be called a golden age for Srl-Vaishnavism 
and also for our temple. 

Alagia-manavala-J lyar 

The most prominent Jlyar at Kahchi in the post-Manavala Mahamuni period was 
Alagia-manavala-Jiyar. Several inscriptions datable to the latter half of the 1 5th 
century and the earlier half of the 16th century, speak of his services to the temple and 
his eminent position in the temple affairs at Kahchi. His life period was from A.D. 
1420 to 1468. It was already pointed out that during this period there was a great 
spurt in the activities of the Jlyars whose main function was to look after the proper 
conduct of worship and festivals in the temple and to administer certain endowments 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Sri-Vaishnavism 77 

and see that they were utilised for the purposes for which they were meant. Thus, 
the Tirupati inscriptions as well as the Tirwnalai-olugu speak of the eminence of 
Vada-Tiruvengada Jiyar, the Koil-kelvi of the temple. According to the Tirumalai - 
olugu 6 3 Manavaja Mahamuni appointed his disciple Sriranga Narayana Jiyar as the 
superintendent of the Srlrangam temple and Vada Tiruvengadam Jiyar as the Koil- 
kelvi of the Tirupati temple. Inscriptions at Tirupati refer to successive Vada-Tiru- 
vengada Jiyars. Alagia Manavala Jiyar seems to have held a similar position at 
Kanchi from the last decade of the 15th century. 

He was the disciple of Pattarpiran Jiyar, one of the ashtadiggajas of Manavala 
Mahamuni. 64 It is interesting to note that Manavala was similarly known as Alagia 
Manavala Jiyar. Thus, the affinity of Alagia Manavala Jiyar of Kanchi to Mana- 
vala Mahamuni is beyond doubt. An interesting inscription of the latter half of the 
15th century at Tirupati records the offerings to Lord on the birth-star of these two 
ascetics (sanyasis) famed as The beautiful’ as both were called Alagia-manavalar. 65 
The Sanskrit names of the two ascetics were Ramya-jamatru-muni (Manavala Maha- 
muni) and Saumya-jamatru-muni — both meaning The beautiful’. Alagia-manavala- 
Jiyar and his disciple Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyangar played a notable part in the 
development of the temple. Both were contemporaries of the Vijayanagar king 
Saluva Narasimha who was a great devotee of Venkatesvara of Tirumalai. Kanda- 
dai Ramanuja Ayyangar was held in high esteem by Saluva Narasimha. From 
Tirupati inscriptions, we know that Narasimha appointed Ramanuja Ayyangar as 
the manager of the feeding houses or Ramanuja-kutas at Tirupati and also at Kanchi. 
His activities at Kanchi are also well attested by the inscriptions (dating from A.D. 
1487) found at the Varadaraja temple which will be-reviewed later. What is to be 
noted here is, that he is frequently referred to as the disciple of Alagia-manavala 
Jiyar of Kanchi. The earliest reference to the Jiyar is found in Tirupati inscription 
dated S 1388 (A.D. 1466) and another in S 1391 (A.D. 1469). 68 Both of them 
refer to him as a famous personality at Kanchi and the preceptor of Kandadai Rama- 
nuja Ayyangar. Another inscription of Tirupati dated A.D. 1535 records xhe insti- 
tution of offerings by Vada-Tiruvengada Jiyar (the Koil-kelvi at Tirupati) in honour 
of his dchdrya (preceptor) Tiruvaymoli-perumal Nayanar and Paramacharya (pre- 
ceptor of preceptors) Alagia Manavala Jiyar, whose birth star was asvini in the 
month of Anif 7 From this epigraph we can infer that Alagia-manavala-Jlyar was 
of advanced age or had already passed away. 

The next Jiyar in succession, who was also called Alagia Manavala Jiyar, figures very 
prominently in the Kanchi inscriptions dating from A.D. 1553 to A.D. 1562, during 
the time of Sadasiva Raya. In some of them, he is designated as Sri-kdryam or 
manager of the temple and in others as Koil-kelvi or the superintendent of the temple. 
Two inscriptions dated A.D. 1558 and 1562 refer to Alagia Manavala Jiyar’ s gift of 
four villages to meet the expenses for various offerings including a ten* day festival 
for Tondaradippodi Alvar in the month of Tai GS and tiruvadyayana-utsavam for Sudik- 
kodutha-nachiyar (Andal). He also made provision for offerings to Lord Varadaraja 
when he visited Alagia-manavala-peruntoppu (garden named after the Jiyar) in the 
Tamil months of Adi, Avani, Puraltasi, Karttigai , Mdsi and Vaikasi. In A.D. 1560, 
Alagia-manavaja Jiyar the superintendent of the temple {koil-kelvi) gifted some lands 
to the temple, the income from which had to be utilised for making elaborate provi- 

IS Sri Varadamjaswami Temple— Kanchi 

sions and offerings for festivals of Tiruppan Alvar and Alagia Singar (Narasimha). 
The village was named Poigaippakkam alias Alagia Manavajapuram— named after 
the Jlyar again. 69 

The same Jlyar was responsible for many constructional activities in the temple. 
According to the Vaibhavaprakdsika of the Alagia-manavaJa-Jiyar matha at Kanchi, 
the Jlyar built the mandapa in front of the Tayar shrine, the western annexe to the 
Ablush ek a-mandapa, the hundred-pillared Kalyana mandapa and reconstructed the 
compound wall of the third prdkdra. It also says that he caused his own statue to be 
carved in those structures. 70 This version is remarkably borne out by the presence 
of the sculpture of the Jiyar in those buildings. In the mandapa in front of Tayar 
shrine, his sculpture is found on the second pillar in the front row facing north. He 
is depicted in standing pose with his antariya flowing right upto the ankle and a 
cloth tied on the waist and having a tridanda in his hand. He wears a clear Tenkalai 
mark on his forehead. An exactly similar figure is found in a niche at the top of 
the compound wall of the fourth prdkdra on the north and east sides of the main 
shrine. Alagia-manavala-Jiyar’s figure, with his typical dress of a Jlyar, is found in 
two places at the Kalyana mandapa. Both are shown in seated postures holding the 
tridanda and bearing the Tenkalai mark. It is pointed out that wearing the antariya 
upto the ankle and tying another cloth on the waist, are typical characteristics of the 
Jiyars of the Tenkalai school, whereas the Jlyars of the Vadakalai sect wear the lower 
cloth only upto the knee and have the other piece of cloth near the arm-pit. 

Perhaps, the same Alagia-manavala- Jiyar figures in two Sanskrit inscriptions 
found at Vilakkoliperumal temple at Kanchi itself. Both are undated records which 
refer to the construction of a certain mandapa and the prdkdra walls in that temple by 
one Sankaradasa, a disciple of Alagia-manavala Jiyar. The Jiyar is eulogised in the 
inscription as one who was well-versed in the Ubhaya-Vedanta (Sanskrit and Tamil 
lore), deeply immersed in the philosophy of Sri Bashya and a veritable ornament of 
Kanchi. 71 

Further history of the successors of this Alagia-mapavala- Jiyar and the matha over 
which they presided will be pursued in a later context. 

Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyan 

We know from the Tirupati inscriptions that one Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyan, who 
was probably a Sattada -Sri-Vaishnava, was held m high esteem by the Yijayanagar 
king, Saluva Narasimha. Ramanuja Ayyan or Ayyangar’s life-period was from 1430 
to 1496. The king appointed him as the kartar or the guardian of the gold treasury 
(Porpandaram) of the temple at Tirupati. 72 Ramanuja Ayyan was undoubtedly an 
influential person who was instrumental in getting numerous grants from the king to 
the Tirupati temple and particularly for the celebration of festivals for Alvars and 
acharyas . 73 He also made many salutary reforms in that temple. He was appointed 
the manager of the feeding houses or Ramanujakutams at Tirupati and probably else- 
where also. From the inscriptions at Srlrangam we learn that he and his successors 
were in charge of the Rdmdnuja-kuta there also. 74 A record of Saluva Narasimha 
dated S 1409 (A.D. 1487) informs us that this Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyan was in 
charge of the Rdmdnuja-kuta at Kanchi. It records a gift of money to VirUpaksha- 
danayaka a chieftain of Saluva Narasimha for the reconstruction ceremony of the image 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Sri * Vaishnavism 79 

of Perundevi Tayar in the temple and for laying out groves in the temple-lands etc. 
He ordered that from produce of the lands certain offerings should be given to the 
deities and one fourth of the offerings should be given to the ‘Kandadai-Ramanuja- 
Ayyangar Ramanujakuta’ in the Sannidhi Street. 75 This epigraph clearly shows that 
Kandadai Ramanuja-ayyangar was in charge of the Ramanuja-kuta situated at the 
Sannidhi Street at Kanchi also as early as A.D. 1487. His connection with Kanchi 
need not surprise us for the Tirupati inscriptions frequently refer to him as the 
disciple of AJagia-manavala-Jlyar of Kanchi. 76 

After his discipleship under Alagia-manavala-JTyar at Kanchi in his early years, 
he went on pilgrimage to all the shrines of the south. He observed in detail how 
the temple worship and various festivals were carried on in the famous temples like 
Srlrangam where he did some notable service. His services at Srirangam and 
Kahchipuram are mentioned in an incomplete tablet on the east wall of the Padika- 
val gopuram m Tirumalai. 77 He won the respect and esteem of Saluva Narasimha 
who appointed him as the kartar or manager of all the Ramanuja-kutas . His re- 
forms* at Tirumalai are recorded in the inscriptions there. 78 Particularly, he did 
much to popularise the festivals connected with the Alvars (like the Tiruvadyayana 
festival, Tiruvaymoh-sirappu) and Ramanuja there. He gave prominence to the 
prabhandam-Tecitzl and associated even the Sattada-Vaishnavas in it. 79 The intimate 
association of Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyangar and his disciples with the Srlrangam 
temple is attested not only by the Srlrangam inscription but also the kdil-olugu . 80 
It eulogises his benefactions to the temple. He is said to have obtained the dasya- 
nama Kandadai Ramanujadasan at the hands of koil-Kandadai Anna, one of the 
eight chief disciples of Manavala Mahamuni. He doned the robes of Ekangi and 
was in charge of the various branches of the temple organisation. 81 

Successive members of this family were in charge of the Rdmanuja-kutas at 
Kanchi as at Tirupati and Srlrangam. 82 An epigraph dated A.D. 1512 (in Krishna- 
dSva Raya’s time) records an endowment by a member of the Chettiar community 
for offerings for Tirukkachi-nambi in the name of the donor’s acharya (preceptor) 
Kandadai-ayyangar. 83 An inscription dated A.D. 1530 records an endowment of 
2,600 gold coins by Kandadai-Ramanuja-ayyangar, the dharmakartha of the chari- 
ties of Rdmanuja-kutam in the Sannidhi Street. 84 It was to be utilised for various 
festivals, processions and offerings to Perarulala and Mahalakshmi. The next re- 
cord dated A.D. 1537 registers a royal gift in honour of Tirumala Raya, the nephew 
of the king Achyutaraya. The donated money of 300 pon was entrusted to Kanda- 
dai-Ramanuja-ayyangar of the Ramanuja-kuta , who had to conduct the various festi- 
vals which included the Tiruvadyayana-festiv&l for the Alvars and offerings on the 
day of the birth-asterism ( Tai-chitra ) of Kandadai-Ramanuja-ayyangar. 85 This epi- 
graph clearly shows Kandadai Ramanuja was held in high esteem and trust by the 
Vijayanagar kings. Next year i.e., A.D. 1538 Kandadai Ramanuja-ayyangar is spe- 
cifically mentioned as the manager (Srf-kdryam) of the temple in an epigraph which 
records the grant of Vada Tiruvengada Jlyar, the koil-kehi at Tirupati. The giant 
was for the Tiruvadyayana-fcstYval in the month of mar gal i. It gives the shares for the 
prabhanda- reciters of the Brahmin community. From this epigraph we also under- 
stand that importance was given to the Sattada-Vaishnavas or non-Brahmin devotees 
in the temple. One of the shares of the prasadam was to go to the Ramanuja-kuta , 86 

80 Srf Varadarajash'dmi Temple — Kaftchi 

Another epigraph of the Vijavanagar times, the exact year of which is however 
not given, records that one Kandadai Annanayyangar evidently a member of the 
same Kandadai family conducted certain festivals during which the Tinippallandu- 
hvmns of Periahar were recited. The grant was made by royal officer Rayasam 
Timmakkan . 87 

The foregoing instances go to show that the descendants of Kandadai Ramanuja- 
ayyangar were highly respected by the kings and common folk alike. Particularly, 
they had numerous Sattada Yaishnavas as disciples who lavished endowments both 
at Tirupati and Kanchi. Another noteworthy point is that they paid particular care 
to create endowments for the celebrations of the festivals in honour of the alvars and 
the achdryas like Tirukkachi-nambi and also for maintaining the due shares for the 
prabhandcun - reciters who are frequently mentioned in their inscriptions. They 
showed special patronage to the festivals of the Alvars. Their services to the temples 
at Silrangam and Tirupati are eulogised m the koil-ohigu. All these factors to- 
gether with the disci pleship of the first Kandadai Ramanuja to Alagia-manavaja- 
Jlyar at Kanchi and his devotion to ^//-Kandadai Annan of Srirangam, one of the 
eight chief disciples of Manavala Mahamuni — all clearly show their affiliation to the 
Prabhandic school. 88 It was already shown that Manavaja Mahamuni was deified 
in this temple sometime earlier than A.D. 1555. Probably, it was done during 
the time of the first Kandadai Ramanuja- ayyan gar, the powerful lieutenant of 
Saluva Narasimha. 

Van-Satagopa Jiyar 

One of the influential mathas of the second half of the 15th-16th century whos 
presiding Jlvars did yeoman service in the cause of Sri-Vaishnavism , was the Van- 
Satagopa matham , later known as Ahdbila-ma^a. Adi Van Satagopa Jiyar, the 
founder of the rnatha , was the guru of Allasani Peddanna, the poet-laureate of the 
Vijayanagar monarch Krishnadeva Raya. The Jiyar is eulogised as the “asylum 
of all learning” by Peddanna in his Manucharitamu . 89 The king himself m his 
Amuktamalyadd praises Van Satagopa 5 s efforts to popularise Sri-Vaishnavism in the 
Andhra country. 90 The date of birth given to the Jiyar in the Sannidhi guruparam- 
para has been found to be antedated by 60 years. Calculating from the epigraphi- 
cal data available at Kanchi and Tirupati, it has been shown that Van Satagopa 
Jiyar was born in A.D. 1437 and lived upto A.D. 1516. His pontificate for sixty 
years should have continued until the beginning years of Krishnadeva Raya. 91 At 
Varadarajaswami temple a record dated S 1431 or A.D. 1509 mentions the gift of 
a land in a village named Van-Satagopapuram evidently after the Jiyar. 92 

He is said to have been a native of Melkote near Mysore. He spent his early 
years at Kanchi and pursued studies under a well-known scholar Ghatikastanam- 
ammal alias Varadakavi. After leading married life for some time, he proceeded to 
Ahbbilam (in Kurnool District in Andhra Pradesh) and is believed to have received 
initiation into Sanyasa-asrama (ascetic life) at the hands of God Narasimha. 

According to the Tenkalai tradition. Van Satagopa Jiyar was devoted to Manavala 
Mahamuni for whom he built a shrine at Melkote. 93 

Adi Van-Satagopa was succeeded first by Sriman Narayana Jiyar and next by 
Parankusa Jiyar I. The former occupied the gadi from A.D. 1515 to 1528, and the 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Srf-Vmshnavism 81 

latter from A.D. 1528 to 1541. 94 Narayana Jlyar lived almost to the end of Krishna- 
deva Raya’s reign while his successor Parankusa Jlyar was a contemporary of Krishna- 
deva and Achyuta^Raya. There are two records at Varadarajaswami temple, Kanchi, 
dated S 1452 and S 1461 corresponding respectively to A.D. 1530 and 1539 which 
mention the Parankusa Jlyar’s offering to this temple during auspicious occasions like 
the Chaturmasa-Ekadasi days and on the Kausikadvadasi days. 95 He also made provi- 
sion for reading the Kausika purana on the Kausikadvadasi days. Three villages in 
Damarkottam were donated by him for meeting the expenses of 15 Ekadasi days. 
The items of expenditure included the presentation of cloth to one who recited the 

These instances clearly show that the Jiyars of the Van-Satag5pa matha took keen 
interest in fostering the religious faith and observances in many Vaishnava temples 
of South India. 

Paravastu and Nallan Chakravarti families 

In Achyutaraya’s inscriptions of the temple several members of the Srl-Vaishnava 
families are mentioned. A record dated S 1460 (A.D. 1538) mentions a gift to 
this temple by Vada Tiruvengada Jlyar the koil-kelvi or the temple-superintendent at 
Tirumalai and disciple of Paravastu Naynar Ayyangar. 96 Another epigraph of the 
same king records a gift by a member of the well-known Acharya-purusha family, 
Nallan Chakravarti. He made a gift of 1,200 pon (gold) to the temple, out of which 
150 pon should be granted to Govinda Ayyangar, the son of his preceptor Nallan 
Chakravarti Sriranga Ayyangar. The latter was given one eighth of the offerings. 97 

Tallapakkam family 

The members of this family were renowned musicians and poets who composed 
hundreds of devotional songs set to music and sang them regularly in the presence 
of Lord Venkatesvara of Tirumalai. They were Nandavarika Brahmanas and be- 
longed to the Bharadwaja-gotra. Annamacharya or Sankirtanacharya, the well- 
known Telugu poet and musical-composer, was the earliest member of this family. 
He lived during the reigns of Saluva Narasimha and Krishnadeva Raya. He was 
first a Smartha and later became a staunch adherent of Ramanuja-siddanta. His son 
Pedda or Peria Tirumala-ayyangar, grandson Siru or Chinna Tirumala-ayyangar and 
his great grandson Tiruvengalappar figure in the inscriptions of our temple as donors. 
The epigraphs at Tirupati testify to their prosperity and also their liberal benefactions 
to the temple there. 98 Here in our records too, their donations are recorded. Thus, an 
epigraph dated S 1474 (A.D. 1553) records that Pedda Tirumala-ayyangar and his 
son together provided for offerings for God Arulala and arranged for conducting cer- 
tain festivals at specified scales of expenditure. 99 Pedda Tirumala ayyangar was 
a profound scholar and philosopher. His son Chinna Tirumala ayyangar was also a 
prolific composer, whose works include Adhyatma-sankirtana-Lakshanam . His various 
other benefactions to Govindaraja temple at Tirupati and the temple at Tiruchanur 
are recorded in the inscriptions of those places. 100 

Another member of the Tallapakkam family of poets was Chinn a-Tirumala 
ayyaagar’s son Tiruvengalappar. In S 1475 (A.D. 1553) he donated the income 
from two villages to the Varadarajaswami temple to be utilised for certain offerings 

82 Sri Varadcsrajaswami Temple — Kafichi 

on festival days. 101 He wrote a commentary in Telugu called Bdlaprabodini or 
Amara . In the preface to this w r ork, he traces his descent from Tallapakkam Anna- 

The Kanchi records clearly show that the beneficial hand of the Tallapakkam 
family extended even npto Kanchi. 

Anandam Pillai 

An epigraph dated A. D. 1535 records an endowment for the festival of Tiruk- 
kachi-nambi and stipulates certain shares in the prasadam for the preceptors like 
Anandam Piljai Iyengar and the SrI-Vaishnavas reciting the Prabhandas?^ 2 The mem- 
bers of Anandam Pillai family are found still in Kanchipuram and other places and 
they are staunch exponents of the Prabhandic or Tenkalai school. It is interesting to 
recall here that another member of the Anandam Pillai family residing at Tirumalai 
donated (in A.D. 1545) a large sum of money to the temples of Tirumalai and 
Tirupati for offerings during the time when the “kanninum-Sirutt dmbu" verses in 
praise of Nammalvar were sung in the annual Adyayanotsavam festival. 103 

Parakala Alagia Singar 

There is an interesting record dated S 1477 (A.D. 1555) which mentions an endow- 
ment made by Parakala Alagia Singar of Tirunarayanapuram, son of Mudumbai 
Appiljai Annavaivvangar. 104 He was probably the head of the Parakala matha of 
Tirunarayanapuram or Melkote, His father was a native of Mudumbai village to 
which the great Pillai Lokacharya also belonged. Here in this record Parakala 
Alagia Singar made sumptuous gift of lands for meeting the expenses for offerings 
for all the Alvars and some debar ya-purushas on their respective aster ism. The 
dcharyas mentioned are : Nathamuni, Emberumanar (Ramanuja), Kurattalvar, 

Tirukkachi-nambi and Peria-Jiyar or Manavala-Mahamuni ( Mulam star). The 
birth-star of Parakala Jiyar (star Uttiram) either himself or one of his predessors is 
also included. 

Tatacharya family 

Another famous Sri-Vaishnava family was that of the Tatacharyas. According to 
the Sanskrit work Prapannamrutam written by Anantacharya, a disciple of Tatacha- 
rya, the Tatacharyas were the descendants of the Sri Sailanatha or Tirumalai-nambi, 
the uncle and teacher of Ramanuja. Two of the early members of this family who 
were proficient in the exposition of the Ramayana are said to have migrated from 
Tirupati to Ettur and from there to Hampi, the capital of the Vijayanagar. They 
were highly respected by the Vijayanagar monarchs. One of the descendants of this 
family was the famous Panchamatabhanjanam Tatacharya who lived in the court of 
Ramaraya I and contemporary of Mahacharya or Doddayacharya. Both -Doddaya- 
charya and Tatacharya defended the tenets of the Visishtadvaita philosophy and 
refuted the criticisms of Appayya Dlkshitar, the well-known Advaitic scholar of the 
times. Doddayacharya who lived at Solasimhapuram (about 45 miles from Kanchi 
on the way to Tirupati) wrote his famous work Chandamcirutam while Tatacharya 
wrote the work Panchamatabhanjanam . Both these Sri-Vaishnava leaders are said 
to have played a notable part in reinstalling the image of Govindaraja at Chidam- 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Sri- Vaishnavism 83 

baram. 105 

Till the disastrous battle of 1565, the members of the Tatacharya family lived in 
the vicinity of Vijayanagar. But after that, they went to different places. 10 ® The 
Vijayanagar capital was for some time at Penugonda and later shifted to Chandragiri 
by SrTranga I whose rule commenced in A.D. 1572. It is during this time of Srf- 
ranga I that one branch of the Tatacharya family settled down at Kanchi. The 
earliest epigraph at Kanchi mentioning Tatacharya is dated § 1496 (A.D. 1574). 107 
He was Ettur Kumara Tirumalai Tatacharya, who became the best known member 
of the family later on. 108 The place-names like Ettur and Tirumalai prefixed to his 
name showed his original homes from where his family first hailed. In this epigraph 
he is mentioned in connection with the sale of certain services like the conduct of 
Tirumdyayana festival in the Tamil month of margali , Sri Jay anti and other minor 
festivals. But Tatacharya’s position in the temple is not mentioned in this inscrip- 
tion. However, the next epigraph dated A.D. 1582 mentions him as Sn-karya- 
Durantara or manager-general of the temple. 109 This is an important inscription as 
it gives us information about the various Alvars and dcharyas for whom therew ere 
shrines in the temple, and the various festivals conducted in their honour. It records 
an agreement by the Sri Bandar attar (treasurer) of the temple and Tatacharya- ayy an 
with the military commander ( Dalavdy ) of the Vijayanagar king to provide offerings 
and worship to Perarujalar, PerundSviyar (Goddess), Serakulavalli-nachchiar, all the 
alvars and some acharyas. The achdryas mentioned are Emberumanar (Ramanuja), 
Nathamuni and Manavala Mahamuni. The specific mention of Tatacharya’ s agree- 
ment to perform the Janma-nakshatiram of Manavala Mahamuni on his annual birth- 
day is indeed significant as it shows his devotion to this acharya . In another record 
dated A.D. 1583 it is mentioned that he was the acharya of Tirumalai, Kumba- 
konam and Tirumalirumsolai and that he performed Vajapeya yaga at the 
temple. 110 In the same year i.e., A.D. 1583 he donated one village for conducting 
festivals, Tiruvadyayana festival in the month of margali, Tiruppavitra-utsavam festival 
for Andal etc. (586 of 1919). Ettur Tirumalai Kumaia Tatacharya continued to hold 
an eminent position as royal preceptor under Srlranga’s successor Venkata II, who* 
succeeded to the throne in A.D. 1586. The Tatacharya is said to have officiated as 
the royal guru during his coronation. There are a number of inscriptions of Venkata II 
at Varadarajaswami temple and elsewhere, reciting the benefactions and other acts of 
Kumara Tatacharya. Their dates range between A.D. 1587 and 1614, till almost the 
end of Venkata’s reign. He is stated to have weighed himself against gold and silver 
and to have used that wealth in the service of Varadaraja in erecting the Kalyana-koti 
vimana for goddess Lakshmi. 111 The Tayar shrine was already there (as has already 
been shown) but the tower was rebuilt and covered with gold-coated plate. He built 
it in emulation of the Panyakdti-yimdna set up by Krishnadeva Raya Tatacharya 
repaired and re-gilt with gold as it got defaced in the course of a century. His 
benefactions include many yahanas or processional vehicles and some jewels. 112 He 
also dug a tank at Kanchi named Tatasamudram (now known as Ayyankulam) 
and built a shrine on its bank for Hanuman. He composed a poem of 20 verses 
named Hanumadvimsati which is now inscribed on the east and north walls of the 
rock and also on the outermost gdpuram , right of the entrance at Varadarajaswami 
temple. 113 It should be remembered that Hanuman was a favourite God of the 

84 Sri Varadartjmwami Temple — Kaftchi 

Vijayanagar kings. In an inscription found at the Hanuman temple at Ayyankulam, 
it is stated that the consecration ceremony was celebrated in a grand manner and 
king Venkata was present at Kanchi to witness the same. 114 His assistants or agents 
Visva Punditar and Tiruppani Pillai of Tiruppullani are also mentioned. But two of 
the inscriptions give us the information that Tatacharya was not the sole manager of 
this temple. While the inscription dated A. D. 1591 mentions him as one of the 
managers, 115 the other dated earlier i.e., A.D. 1588, specifically mentions Sannidhi 
Srlrama Ayyangar as another Srf-karyam or manager. 116 The position appears to 
be like this. Each temple had its own traditional local Sn-karyam or manager. 
Tatacharya was evidently appointed as the Sri-karya»durantara or manager-general 
of many Vishnu temples not only in Kanchi but also at Sriperumbudur, Tirunirmalai 
etc., probably to have an overall supervision in their affairs. 117 Hence, in his ins- 
criptions we get the names of a number of agents and local managers under him. 
But, the last that we hear of Ettur Kumara Tatachari at Kafichi is A.D. 1614, the 
last year of his patron Venkata II. Practically, that marks the end of Tatacharya’ s 
administration. His son Ettur Immadi Kumara Tirumalai Tatacharya figures in an 
inscription at SrlperumbUdUr which is dated in A.D. 1634, as the manager of that 
temple. He also figures in two inscriptions at Tenneri (15 miles from Kanchi) where 
he built a sluice for the tank. There also he is called EttUr Immadi Kumara Tiru- 
malai Tatacharya. He personally laid the foundation of this first sluice. But, 
strangely the junior Tatacharya does not figure in the inscriptions of our temple. It 
was the time when the Vijayanagar power was rapidly declining. Soon after the 
death of Venkata II in 1614, there was a bitter civil war in which the rightful 
nominee Srlranga was put to death by the rebel group. The empire was parcelled 
into many governorships and the Vijayanagar kingdom lost its supremacy and influ- 
ence. In 1645, the combined forces of Bijapur and Golkonda laid siege to Vellore the 
capital and seized it. That was practically the death-knell of the Vijayanagar empire. 
With its decline, the Tatacharyas were also losing their royal backing and patronage. 
The inscriptions at Kanchi are silent about their activities. In this turbulent period 
the only strong Hindu kingdom which looked like stepping into the shoes of the 
Vijayanagar kingdom was that of the Mysore Wodeyars, who were strong Vaishnavas. 
So, the Ettur Kumara Tatacharya family moved to Srlrangapatna, the capital of the 
Mysore kings, in search of better fortunes. This is clearly borne out by an inscrip- 
tion found in Mysore from which we learn that Venkata-Varadacharya of Ygdur 
(i.e., Ettur), grandson of Imma^i-Tirumala-Tatacharya and son of Koti-Kanyadanam- 
Lakshmi-Kumara Tatacharya proceeded to the court of Srirangapattinam as the 
preceptor of Devaraya Wodeyar, the king of Mysore. He reached Mysore in 
A.D. 1663. 118 As Hayavadana Rao says : 119 

“The arrival of the celebrated Tatacharya family of Srl-Vaishnavite royal preceptors from the 
court of Vijayanagar ani their settlement in Sn'rangipatnam probably contributed not a little 
to confirm m the Royal House of Mysore the vanishing glories of the Vijayanagar imperial- 

Venkatadri and Gomatam family (A.D. 1658-59) 

When Kanchi was in the grip of Muslim inroads, the temple was ably managed 
by one Venkatadri, an agent of the Vijayanagar king. This is attested by an epigraph 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Sri-Vaishmvism 85 

dated A.D. 1658-59 (§ 1581). It records the conferring of privileges like Parivattam 
(holy turban), Tlrtham (holy water) and Satagopam (the placing of the sacred feet 
of the Lord on one’s head) on Venkatadri, who administered the temple ably during 
the Muslim disturbances. 120 In 1684, Venkatadri transferred the honours as privi- 
leges to his preceptor or acharya of the Gomatam Tirumalacharya family, a Sri- 
Vaishnava belonging to the Tenkalai school. 121 The descendants of this family 
continue to enjoy the privileges even today. 

Arulappadu rights for Prativati Bhayankaram family 
(A.D. 1677 and 1687) 

The other Sri-Vaishnava leaders of the times who were presented with certain 
honours like the Arulappadu and holy water ( Tlrtham ), all belonged to the Tenkalai 
school. Arulappadu right holders were also the Stalattdrs of the temple. Thus, in 
A.D. 1677 (S 1599) the Arulappadu rights and privileges were conferred on one 
Srlrangacharya, son of Vadibhlkara Srinivasa Guru of Sri-vatsa-gotra. He belonged 
to the Prativati Bhayankaram family. 122 

The next inscription dated S 1609 (A.D. 1687) confers 123 the privileges like the first 
Tlrtham and Arulappadu on Goviiidacharya son of Prativati Bhayankaram Rangacharya 
of Sri-vatsa-gotra . First Tlrtham means precedence in honours during the distribution 
of the consecrated water and food. It is interesting to note that the representatives of 
this family still-enjoy this Arulappadu right though the ‘first tlrtham ’ honour has laps* 
ed, due to various reasons. The Prativati Bhayankaram family, as pointed out 
earlier, is one of the distinguished families of preceptors, who have played an 
important role in the dissemination of the Sri-Vaishnava tenets in various places such 
as Tirupati, Kahchi etc. 

Attan Jlyar 

In 1688, Aurangazeb’s expedition into the South took place and Kahchipuram, 
in common with several other important centres of South India, felt the shock of the 
invading army. It was the time when the temple authorities fearing desecration, 
disguised the images of Lord Varadaraja and His consorts and conveyed them out 
of Kanchi city. These images found their asylum in the jungles of Udayarpalayam. 
After nearly 22 years, when Kahchipuram was considered safe, the temple autho- 
rities wanted to bring back the images to the temple. But the local chieftain at 
Udayarpalayam refused to part with them. At the special intercession of Srimat- 
Parmahamsa Parivrajakacharya Attan Tiruvenkada Ramanuja Jlyar, his disciple 
and chieftain Lala Todarmalla used force and brought back the images safely and 
reinstalled them in their original abode — Kanchi. Thi s took place in § 1632 (A.D. 
1710) as is attested by a long inscription found in a slab erected prominently near 
the Tayar shrine. 124 The slab bears a clear and bold Tenkalai caste-mark (mutilated 
and later restored under court orders) flanked by Sankha and Chakra showing, 
incidentally, that it was the recognised mark of the temple at that time (Fig. 3). In 
recognition of the yeoman services rendered to this temple by Raja Todarmal, those 
who were in the authority of the temple known as the Stalattdrs conferred the right 
of management of the temple on Todarmalla, who in his turn, transferred it to his 
guru Attan Jlyar. Attan Jlyar 125 was a Sri-Vaishnava of Tenkalai sect and he was 

86 Sri VaradarJjaswumi Temple — Kuilchi 

managing the temple till his death in 1723. Then Raja Todarmai re-conferred the 
title of full proprietoiship (Sana-Sri-Karya-Durantaratvam) on Attan Jlyar’s son (born 
before he became a Sanyasm) by name Ramanuja Rayanivaru which was to be 
enjoyed hereditarily also. Thus, the descendants of Attan Jiyar were holding the 
office of trusteeship for nearly four generations till 1794. In 1794, the Government 
took over the administration of the temple. 

The Tenkalai preponderance in the temple is again confirmed by another record 
of A.D. 1713 which registers that the Stalattars of the temple conferred the Arula- 
ppddu Tlrtham honours on one Srlrangam Nallan Chakravarti. This family is still 
enjoying this right in this temple and its members belong to the Tenkalai school. 

Return of Tatacharya family to Kanchi (A.D. 1711) 

In A.D. 1711 a year after the restoration, the descendant of the Ettur Tirumalai 
Kumara Tatacharya returned to Kanchi from Mysore. At the instance of Attan 
Jiyar and Todarmalla, the Tatacharya was made to receive priority of honours ( Agra - 
tdmbddlam) in the temple, in view of the past eminent position of the family as the 
royal priests of the Vijayanagar kings. But this was done on the definite undertaking 
given by the Tatacharya that he would honour the Tenkalai traditions (mdmul) of 
the temple and that he would honour the Tenkalai Acharya, Manavala Mahamuni and 
that he would chant the tanian or invocatory verses (Srisailesa Day a Patram) in honour 
of the acharya in the temple as it was done in all the eighteen sacred Vishnu temples 
of Kanchi. This famous agreement known as the Attan Jiyar agreement was signed 
by Ettur Immadi Lakshmi Kumara Tatacharya and delivered to Attan Jiyar. 126 We do 
not know why such a strong undertaking was felt necessary. Was it because the 
Tenkalai Stalattars feared that the Tatacharya would introduce innovation contrary 
to the established customs of the temple ? Whatever it is, this document clearly 
shows that the Tenkalai mode of ceremonies and worship prevailed in the temple. 

Except for some stray occasions when a deviation was sought to be made (as in 
A.D. 1 770), 127 the major part of the 18th century was characterised by peace and 
concord. The Tenkalai procedure of worship, ceremonies and mantras prevailed 
in the temple as they did in the seventeen other Vishnu temples of Kanchi. The 
Tatacharyas accepted to respect the prevailing customs. But from the beginning of 
the 19th century, we witness the sectarian disputes coming into sharp focus, 
which often tended to mar the religious atmosphere. 

Vaishnava sect-marks 

A word about the external symbols of the temples. It is well-known that two 
types of urdkvapundra or sacred perpendicular marks are worn by the Srl-Vaishnavas 
on their forehead. They consist of three vertical streaks, the middle one being red, 
or yellow, and the other two, white in colour. Various interpretations are given for 
their significance and they are considered to be the yogic symbols. But the common 
belief is that the urdkvapundra represents the sacred feet of Lord Vishnu. 128 The 
central streak is taken to represent the grace of Sri or Lakshmi and hence called 
Sri~churna. We know that even during Ramanuja’s time the practice of wearing the 
urdkvapundra was in vogue. Kurattalvar makes a pointed reference to the presence of 
urdkvapundra on the forehead of Lord Varadaraja. 129 But there is difference of opi- 

The Role of the Temple in the Gtowth of Sri-Vahhmvism 87 

nion regarding the exact shape of it. The Vadakalai and Tenkalai schools claim that 
it was like their own. The two schools, in course of time, have adopted two types 
of pundra— the Vadakalais have the U-like mark with a prominent curvature; the Ten- 
kalais have a slightly different type with a distinct pada projection at the bottom. Most 
of the references regarding the old form point not to three streaks but to only one, as 
the mark, it is said, should resemble either the flame, bamboo, leaf, tortoise, mace, 
lotus-lily or fish. So in the earlier days it appears to have been a single perpendi- 
cular mark, broader at the base and narrower at the top. This is followed even now in 
the temples of North India. But here in the South, the emergence of the two schools 
has perhaps necessitated the two different forms which have unfortunately added to 
accentuate the division. 

Be that as it may, the practice of inscribing the tiru-namam on the temple-walls 
seems to have come into vogue only in the Vijayanagar times. They are conspicuous 
by their absence in the Choi a structures. But in many of the structures of the 
Vijayanagar days both at Hampi and Chandragiri, the tiru-namams are found flanked 
by the Sankha and Chakra , the symbols of Vishnu, sometime with the Vijayanagar 
state-crest. They are neither incised nor painted but they are reliefs from the origi- 
nal surface of the stone and therefore coeval with the structure. Here in our temple 
similar 4 ndmam .s’ originally sculptured by the Vijayanagar sculptors are found on the 
ornamental door-jamb of the eastern gopuram , on the pillars of the Kalyana-mandapam , 
the mandapam in front of the Tayar shrine, the outer compound wall etc. (Fig. 12). 
They are all, as a rule, the Tenkalai marks i.e., they have the unmistakable pada 
projection at the bottom. It should be in mind that all the old Tenkalai marks 
have only a short pada- projection and many of them do not bear the central line or 
Sri-chuma. Such Tenkalai marks are found in the Chandragiri fort, almost all the 
leading temples of Hampi, at the entrance of Ramanuja temple at Sriperumbtidur with 
a Vijayanagar inscription, carved below. Exactly the same type of Tenkalai ndmam is 
found carved on the door-jamb of the eastern gopuram entrance of Sri Varadarajaswa- 
mi temple (Fig. 12). Portions of the pada were mutilated during the later sectarian 
disputes; but still the traces of the pada are unmistakable as illustrated here. They are 
not extraneous but bas-reliefs and form part of the original structure and therefore 
belong to the beginning of the 16th century A.D. to which date the gopuram belongs. 

Tenkalai namams in stone-reliefs are again found in the Kalydna mandapa , the 
mandapa in front of the Tayar shrine— both built by Alagia-manavaja-JIyar in the 16th 
century. They are also found distributed in different shrines and structures such as 
the cornice of the Abhisheka-mandapa , the door-jamb of the Ramanuja shrine, the 
mandapa in front of the Nammalvar shrine at the top of the outer compound walls 
etc. What need be noted here is that external symbol, like the internal mode of 
worship, was that of the preponderant sect viz., the Tenkalai. The presence of the 
two prominent old Tenkalai-marks as stone-reliefs at the door-jamb of the eastern 
gopura, not to speak of the numerous ones found distributed all over the temple, is 
an eloquent proof of the same. 

To sum up the foregoing discussion, we find that the modest temple of Attiyur 
rose up in the wake of the great Bhakti movement fostered by the Alvars. Bhuda- 
ttalvar, one of the earliest Alvars ascribable to the seventh century A.D., has eulo- 
gised the deity of the temple. The shrine came to be considered a Divyadesa or holy 

88 Sii Varadardjas w dim Temple — KGftchi 

shrine. But the temple was by no means prominent in the early days. The Vishnu 
temple of Tiruvehka in the same locality was the most prominent temple in Kanchi. 
But, thanks to the association of the great dchdryas , like Ramanuja, Tirukkachi- 
nambi and Kurattah'ar the temple became, from about the 11th century A.D., one 
of the three foremost centres of Sri-Vaishnavism, the other two being Srirangam and 
Tirumalai. It became an important seat of the Visishtadvaitic philosophy as pro- 
pounded by Ramanuja. The Pancharatra-form of worship which was popularised by 
Ramanuja at Srirangam and elsewhere was adopted in our temple also. Ramanuja’s 
emphasis on the archa or idol form of God gave an impetus to the ritual and struc- 
tural expansion of the temple and indeed the 1 1th and 12th centuries witnessed 
remarkable improvement to the temple by way of construction of the first three 

Subsequent to Ramanuja, a galaxy of eminent preceptors carried on his work. A 
division arose gradually among his followers on doctrinal matters. The Prabhandic 
school with its eminent exponents like Nampillai, Peria Vachan Pillai, Pillai Loka- 
charya, Manavala Mahamuni had Srirangam as their headquarters; while the Sri - 
Bdshya school led by great savants like Nadadur Animal, Vedanta Desika, Naina 
Varadachariar remained at Kanchi. But this did not immediately bring about any 
cleavage or schism. In fact, there is ample evidence to show that each respected the 
other and both were considered complementary to the tenets of Sri-Vaishnavism, 
one specialising in the Tamil lore and the other in the Sanskrit lore. But, in due 
course, the Tenkalai school with its devotional approach, its free use of the verna- 
cular, its liberal outlook towards the caste system, its deep attachment to Alvars 
among whom many were from the lower castes became immensely popular and 
spread far and wide. Manavaja Mahamuni and his eight disciples gave a firm 
organisational basis to it. The Vadakalai school on the other hand, with its emphasis 
on the Vedic rites, its use of the Sanskrit language, which was foreign to the vast 
Tamil population, and its orthodox and conservative views on many social problems 
made itself more exclusive. Hence, the vast majority of the temples of South India 
came under the spell of the eclectic Tenkalai school. The Varadarajaswami temple 
and indeed all the 18 sacred Vishnu temples of Kanchi were no exception to this. 

In the post-Manavala Mahamuni’s period i.e., from about the middle of the 15th 
century A. D., a number of Sri-Vaishnava leaders were associated with this temple. 
Moreover, the period coincided with the ascendancy of the Vijayanagar kings who 
bestowed special attention on the growth of the Vaishnavism. Successive Jlyars of 
Alagia Manavala-ma//m held supreme position in our temple. Kandadai Ramanuja- 
Ayyan, a disciple of Alagia Manavala Jlyar of Kanchi and Koil Kandadai Annan of 
Srirangam did great service to our temple. So did his successors. All these leaders 
were the champions of the Tenkalai school who did much to popularise the festivals 
for the Alvars like the Tiru-adyayana festival and encouraged the recital of the 
Tamil prabhandas. The temple became predominantly of the Tenkalai character. 
Several Tenkalai acharya-purusha families like Prativati Bhayankaram, Gomatam 
Chakravarti were honoured with Arulappadu rights in the 17th century A.D. In the 
same century, Ettur Tirumalai Tatacharya, a scion of the distinguished Tatacharya 
family, was appointed the manager of the temple. He probably belonged to the 
Vadakalai school. He held an honoured place and did many useful services to the 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Sri-Vaishnavism 69 

temple. But with the fall of the Vijayanagar power in South India in about A.D. 
1645, this family migrated to Mysore. The Tenkalai stalattdrs re-asserled their 
power. In A.D. 1688 due to the threats of invasion by Muslim army, the idols of 
Varadaraja and His consorts were removed to a forest of Udayarpalayam and were 
brought back only after 22 years. Attan Jiyar who did much useful work in connec- 
tion with the reinstallation of the deity was appointed the manager of the temple and 
after him, his successors looked after it for well over 70 years. The member 
of the Tatacharya family returned to Kanchi in 1711 and, in deference to the high 
position held by the family, was given the honour of First Water (or Tirtha) right 
on the condition that he would respect the existing Tenkalai mode of worship, recital 
etc. The Tatacharyas honoured the Attan Jiyar agreement for well over eighty years. 
But later, they sought to alter the existing procedure and introduce what the Tenkalai 
considered as innovations. This, later on, led to clashes between the two sects from 
19th century onwards. But records from the 1 5th to 1 8th century clearly show the 
ascendancy of the Prabhandic or the Tenkalai school. Even the early stone-cut 
tirunamams or caste-marks in this temple were Tenkalai for which tell-tale evidences 
are available at many places in the temple. 


1. Tolkappiam Pond, 5. 

2. Puram 56. 

3. Panpddal III 11. 82-83. 

4. Silappadikaram , cantos X and XI. 

5. Perumpdndpruppadai 11. 410-411. 

6. Perumpanafiuppadai 11. 398-420. See 
Pattupditu ed. by U.V. Swaminatha Iyer 
(Madras, 1950), pp 203-205. 

7. Vide Chapter I. 

8. Verse 77. 

9. Ill Centura. 

10. Rdmanuja-Nufrandadi, v. 31. 

11. Op. cit. 

12. T.A. Gopinatha Rao; op cit., p 40. 

13. For a critical survey of Ramanuja’s life 
period vide T N. Subramaniam, 4 A Note 
on the date of Ramanuja'’ in S I.T I., Vol. 
Ill, pt. II, pp. 147/160 His conclusions 
ate worth noting here : (1) Kulottunga II 
(A.D. 1133-1150) was the Chola monarch 
who persecuted Ramanuja and his fol- 
lowers; (2) Ramanuja’s flight to the Hoy- 
sala country took place in A D. 1138; (3) 
He returned to Srlrangam after 12 years 
i e., A.D. 1150 after the death of Kulot- 
tunga II, (4) The Sri Bhdshyam was com- 
pleted m § 1077 or A D. 1155-56. This 
dating though slightly at variance with 
the traditional one seems to be convinc- 
ing. Also see Dr. S.K. Iyengar, History 
of Tirupati , Vol. I, p. 287. 

14. Ramanuja’s Bhagavad Gita Bhdshyam 
quoted in Bharatan Kumarappa’s 4 The 

Hindu conception of the deity as culminat- 
ing in Ramanuja (Lond. 1934), pp. 191 and 

15. M. Yamunacharya, Ramanuja's Teachings 
in his own words, Bombay (1963). 

16. The Culural Heritage of India , Vol. IV, 
p. 176. 

17. Ramanuja’s contemporary Tiruvaran- 
gattu-amudanar pays glowing tributes to 
the former’s services in popularising the 
Divya Prabandhams in his Ramanuja - 
nur panda di. Tn the first verse he calls 
Ramanuja as the disciple of Nammalvar. 

18. Though there is evidence to show that the 
Alvar’s Prabandhams were recited in a 
few Vishnu temples like Srlrangam ear- 
lier than Ramanuja’s time, it is agreed 
that he was largely responsible to make 
their recital an essential feature on all 
festival occasions (K.A.N. Sastn : Cholas , 
p. 639 and T.K.T. Veeraraghavacharya, 
History of Tuupati , II, pp. 953 and 974. 

19. SIT, III, No. 80. 

20. 572 of 1919. 

21. Chapters V and VI. 

22. 493 of 1919. 

23. The fixing of responsibility for the schism 
is a moot point and different views have 
been expressed. The usual popular view 
is that the Tenkalai line became distinct 
with Pillai Lokacharya and the Vada- 
kalai with Vedanta Desika. “After Pillai 
Lokacharya and Vedanta Desika, the 

90 Sri Varadar&jas wdmi Temple — Kdilch 

split between the Tenkalai and Va<lakalai 
became more pronounced. While the 
latter traditions were carried on by Vara- 
dacharya, Brahmatantra Svatantra and 
other disciples, the Tenkalai position was 
consolidated and established by Mana- 
vala Mahamuni.” P.N. Srinivasachari, 
Philosophy o f Visish i ad \aita, p . 533. But 
another reputed scholar A. Govinda- 
charya fixes the responsibility on Vedanta 
Desika and cot Filial Lokacharya. He 
says : “Ldkacharya was not the first great 
teacher of the Tenkalai school. In his 
day there was no distinction of such 
schools. If any schism arose in virtue of 
differences of interpretation it is m all 
probability to be attributed to the time of 
Vedantacharya. In Vedantacharya’s 
works such differences m interpretation 
of the teachings that prevailed before 
his day are clearly discernible.” But he 
quickly adds that Vedantacharya looked 
upon the opinions of those from whom 
he differed as simply due to specialisa- 
tion of certain aspects of truth. There- 
fore, Govindacharya rightly concludes 
that no odium theologicum could be 
imputed to him (p. 716). 

Tenkalai and Vadakalai : J.R.A.S. 1912, 
pp. 173-177. 

24. On the whole, there are said to be eigh- 
teen differences. A. Govindacharya, 
Ashtddasabhedas , J R.A S. 1910. 

P N. Srinivasachari : The Philosophy of 
Visishtadvaita , Adyar, 1943, pp. 534 ff. 

25. V. Rangacharya, op. cit., p, 178. 

26. Ibid. 

27. Crole, Chingleput District Gazetteer , p, 

28. From the Guruparamparai of Pinbalagia 
Perumal Jiyar, it is learnt that Battar’s 
contemporary on the Chola throne was 
one Tribhuvanavlradeva. We know that 
this title was borne by JCulottunga III in 
his inscriptions. The latter ruled from 
A.D. 1178 to 1217, S I T.I. , Vol. Ill, Pt. 
II, p. 159. 

29. Sri Ranganffihastotram. 

30. The kdiLolugu records that Nampillai was 
alive about £ll75i.e, A.D. 1253 when 
the Partly an king Jatavarman Sundara 
covered the central shrine of Srlrangam 
with gold. S.I.T.I., op. cit., p. 159. 

31. Paradvati Patichagam. 

32. A chdrya-hridayam, Sutra 84; ibid., ed. by 

B.M. Purushottama Naidu, Madras, 1965, 
pp. 192-193. 

33. R. Ramanujacharya .* Ramanuja : 
His Life and Works, Raja Sir Annamalai 
Chettiar Com. Volume, Annamalai Uni- 
versity, 1941, pp. 356-364. 

34. This is stated in Doddayacharya's bio- 
graphy on Desika entitled Vaibhavapra- 
kn’sika • also Vij. Sexcentenary Com. 
Volume, p. 49. 

35. Dr. S.K. Iyengar, Sources , pp. 34-35. 

36. Vide Chapter V 

37. Verse 5. 

38. Adaikkalapattu, verse 1. 

39. Ibid , verse 4, 

40. Ibid., verse 9. 

41. Meivritamdnmiyam , verse 27. 

42. P.B. Annangaracharya, Satsampraddya - 
sdrartha-raksha in Sri Ramanujan, Nos. 
212-213 (July 1966), p. 20 £f. 

43. Professor R. Ramanujacharya agrees 
with this view and states ; “The divi- 
sion of the Vaishnavite fold into the Nor- 
thern and the Southern schools does not 
appear to have been known in Desika's 
time. There is ample evidence to show 
there was great cordiality among the 
Vaishnavite thinkers and the eminent 
teachers now regarded as affiliated to the 
Southern School held Desika in great 
esteem and veneration” — Venkatanatha in 
Sri Vedanta Desika Sampraddya Sabha 
Souvenir (Bombay, 1968), p. 53. 

44. V. Rangacharya is of the view that it was 
out of disgust with the prevailing atmos- 
phere of Srlrangam that Desika left for 
Satyamangalam, QJ.M.S. VII, p. ill. 
But from Desika’s work Abhidasatvam it 
is seen that far from being disgusted, he 
longed to live at Srlrangam. 

A free English rendering of verse 28 
can be given : “Oh Lord ! my youth was 
spent m drinking deep into the beauties 
of the works of Ramanuja. Now my 
hair has turned completely grey. Here- 
after, kindly grant me this : Let me live 
at Srlrangam or any similar place which 
is free from the enemies and where 
people are mutual well-wishers.” 

In another context, he states that his 
mind which was not fully mature, blos- 
somed on account of his close associa- 
tion with the eldex-acharyas at Srlrangam 
( Bhagavat Dhyana-sopanam). 

45 . P.B. Annangarachariar (op. cit.) has cited 

The Role of the Temple in the Gtowth of Si I-Vaishnavhm 91 

several instances from Desika’s works to 
show that in interpreting the Tamil Pra - 
bandhams, he has faithfully followed 
Peria VacfcSn Pillai’s famous commen- 

46- Fp. Ind. XXV, No. 34. 

47. Ibid. 

48. S.K. Iyengar, Piativati Bhayankara 
Annan in JJ.H. XVIII, 1939, pp. 378- 

Prativati Rhayankaram Annin fig- 
ures equally prominently in the history of 
both the schools. He was a disciple of 
both Naina Varadacharya and Mana- 
vala Mahamumgal. He has written poems 
in praise of the latter as well as Vedanta 
Desika. This amply proves that even in 
his period the differences between the 
two schools had not hardened. Bat after 
his contact with Manavala Mahamuni at 
Srirangam P B. Annan joined the Praban- 
dhic school. P.B, Annan’s descendants 
are also known to have belonged to the 
Teakalai school and many of them are 
still living in Kanchi and Tirupati. See 
JJ.H. XVin, 1939, pp. 382-383. 

49. The traditional date of birth is Kali 4471, 
Aippasi-Mulam star he lived for 73 years. 
See S.I.T I , III, Pt. XI, p. 1361. 

50. The Koibolugu gives S 1347 (A.D. 

1425) as the date for his advent at Sri- 

51. This name is found both in the Koibolugu 
and the Tu umalai-olugu and it is interest- 
ing to find that the same name occurs in 
the inscriptions of our temple. 

52. These verses are noted for their rhythm 
and beauty. 

53. Prativati Bhayankaram Annangaracharya 
gives a comprehensive treatment to all the 
works of Manavala Mahamuni in his 
Varavaramunindra G'ranthamald (Kanchi, 

54 Even in 1879, it is reported in the Chingle- 
put District Gazetteer, that ‘the majo- 
rity of the Vaishnavite Sudras are Tenka- 
lai’ (p. 35). Also see * The History and the 
Culture of Indian People , VI (Bharatiya 
Vidya Bhavan, Bombay, p. 558). 

55. P.N. Srinivasacharya, op. cit , p. 524. 

56. The ashtadiggajas of Manavala Maha- 
muni are mentioned in the Tirumalai- 
olugu as also in the work of Erumbiappa, 
the disciple of Mahamuni. They are (1) 
Vanamamalai Jlyar, (2 ) Tiruvenkata 

Ramanuja Jivar, (3) Pattarp»ran Jlyar, 
14) Kod-kandadii Annan, (5) Prativati 
Bhayankaram Annan, (6) Erumbiappa, 
(7) Kidambi Appu’ar, (Si Kidambi Ap- 
pillai. See Tuitmclai-olugii, ed by K. 
Balasundarr. Nncker (T.T D. T.rupati, 
1953), p. 85. 

57. V. Rangacharva, * Histor t cal Evolution of 
Sri-Vai dma\ ism in South India m The Cub 
tural Heritage of India (Rarraknshna 
Mission, Calcutta, 1956), Vol. IV, pp 184- 

58 . 653 of 1919; S.I.T I , T, No. 390. 

59. 479 of 1919. 

60. SJ T /., X., No. 429. 

61. It is interesting to note m this connection 
that an inscription of the Vijavaoagar 
times which is datable to not later than 
the 16th century records an endowment of 
a village as gift ( Tiruvidaiyaiiarri ) to 
Manavala-Mahamum at Srlperumbudur. 
This clearly show's that Mahamuni was 
deified at Srlperumbudur in the 16th cen- 
tury, if not slightly earlier (203 of 1949- 

62. TD E.R., Vol. VI, Part II, Table No. 49 

63. Tirumalai-olugu : op. cit., pp. 104-106. 

The learned editor K. Balasundara Nai- 
cker has shown that this work was writ- 
ten sometime before Sadasiva’s time, 
roughly before A.D. 1550. Many of the 
details are remarkably supported by ins- 

64. An epigraph dated A.D. 1514 refers to an 
offering in honour of Alagia-Manavala 
Jlyar, the disciple of Pattarpiran Jlyar. 
The birth-star of the former Is men- 
tioned as Asvini in the month of Ani 
(T.T D., Vol. Ill, No. 98). 

65. T.D.I . , Vol. II, No. 139. 

66. T.D.ER., I, p. 47. 

67. T.T D Rep. IV, No. 46. 

68. 447 and 443 of 1919. 

69. 448 of 1919. 

70. This work Vaibhava-prakasika of the 
matha is available in fragments in palm- 
leaves with the present Jlyar of the Ala- 
giya-manavali-J^yar maiha at Kanchi. 

71. S.I.TL.'y, No. 438. 

72. A.R.E., 1936-37, pp. 90-91. 

73. See T.D.ER Vol. II, for a number of 
inscriptions recording his benefactions. 

74. A.R.E. 1936-37, pp. 90-91; K.V. Raman, 

Kand&dai Rum ami] ad as an, Bharatiya 

Vidya , XXIX, 1969. 

92 Sri Varadardj aswftmi Temple — Kdnchi 

75. SI TI, No. 34 S (C4S of 1919). 

76. TD.E R , Vol. I, pp. 47 and 92. 

77. T.K.T.Vccraraghavachariar : History of 
Tirupati, T.T.D. publication, Vol. II, p. 

78. TD.ER Vol. I, pp. 46-47 and 216- 

79. T.K.T. Veeraraghavachari, op. cit. 

80. A.R.E., 1936-37, pp. 90-91. Koil-olugu , Ed. 
by V.N. Hari Rao (1961), p. 165 ff. 

81. Ibid. 

82. A.R.E . 1936-37, pp. 90-91; A.R.E. 1937- 
38, pp. 90-91. 

S3. 476 of 1919. 

84. 646 of 1919. 

85. 422 of 1919; S LT L, I, pp 327-328. 

86. 579 of 1919. 

87. 657 of 1919. See Appendix II ‘D* for the 

88. Mr. T P. Palaniappa Pillai, Tiruvenkata 
Via (Tirupati, 1950), Introduction, p. 

89. Manuscharitamu , canto I, verse 6. 

90. AmuktamSlyada , canto VI, verse 6. 

91. T.D.E.R. t Vl, Part II, Table No. 87. 

S.K. Iyengar : History of Tirupati — Ac- 
cording to the Sannidhi Guruparamparat , 
Srinivasa was born in A.D. 1379, started 
the matha in 1398 and held it till A.D. 
1458. Of. S. N. Venkatesa Aiyar, History 
of Ahobilam Mutt y p. 17. But he admits 
‘‘the chronology of the first seven Jiyars 
is a matter of dispute.” Also see A R.E . 
1920, p. 114. 

92. 411 of 1919. 

93. The succession list of preceptors < Sama - 
sr ay ana-Par amparai) of Adivan Satagopa 
Jiyar includes Nanjlyar, Nam-Pihai, 
Vadakku Tiruvldi Pillai of the Praban- 
dhic school. The grantha-parampara of 
the matha includes the Vadakalai achar- 
yas— see T.D.E.R. , VI, Part II, Table 87. 
According to the Tenkalai tradition, the 
first six Jiyars of this matha were Ten- 

94. Ibid. 

95. 374 and 373 of 1919. 

96. 579 of 1919. 

97. 576 of 1919. 

98. T D.E.R., I, pp. 283 ff, for full details re- 
garding their activities at Tirupati, 

99. 495 of 1919. 

100. TD.ER., I, op. cn. 

101. 495 of 1919. 

102. 583 of 1919. 

103. No 146 of T.T.D. 

104. 653 of 1919; S.I. T.I. , I, No. 390. 

105. S.K. Iyengar, Sources , pp. 33-35 and 


106. Ep. Ind., XXIX, pp. 72-73. 

107. 383 of 1919. 

108. He is said to have been the adopted son 
of Ayyanayyangar of Satamarshana gotra 
and belonging to Tirumalai Nambi family 
(30 of 1921). Another writer holds that 
Ettur Kumara Tatachari of Kanchi record 
belongs to a branch family, cf. T.K T.V. 
Chary, History of Thupati, Vol. II. 

109. 479 of 1919. 

110. 588 of 1919. 

111. 363 of 1919: S.I.TI Ill, Pt. II, p 1358. 

112. 475 of 1919. 

113. 651 of 1919; S.I. T.I , op. cit p. 1357. 

114. 92 and 95 of 1923. 

115. A21 of 1919. 

116. 587 of 1919. 

117. This is borne out by the mention of a 
number of local managers functioning in 
temples of Tiruvehka, Srfperumbudur etc. 

118. Ep . Car III (1) T.N. 23. Hayavadana 
Rao : History of Mysore , p. 247. 

119. Ibid,p. 225. 

120. S.I.T.I , I, No. 388. 

121. This is supported by the document in the 
possession of the present members of this 
family, which was filed in the courts and 
held as genuine by them. 

122. 398 of 1919. 

123. 423 of 1919. 

124. A.R.E. 1920, p. 122. 

In a copper plate grant deposited in the 
Madras Museum and dated § 1636 (A.D. 
1714-15) the same Srmivasadasa alias 
Attan Jiyar is mentioned as the protege 
of Todarmalla. The Jiyar’s grant of five 
villages to the temple of Snmushnam is 
recorded in that grant. Vide R. Srinivasa 
Iyengar, Catalogue of Copper Plate Grants , 
p. 41. 

125. Though hailing from the Andhra, the 
Jlyar’s interest in the Tamil prabandhams 
was great. He wrote a Tamil work 

The Role of the Temple in the Growth of Sri- Vaishnavism 93 

named A day aval a in dam Arumpadam . 

126. Printed documents m A.S. 212 of 1909, 
p. 158. 

127. Exhibit ‘A’ of A.S. No. 175 of 1910. 

128. Ibid., Exhibit «B\ 

129. For a discussion of the rationale of the 
urdhvapundra and the various interpreta- 
tions see K. Devarathachari, Sri-Vaishna - 
vism and its caste-marks , Q.J.M.S., V, 4, 
pp. 125-139. 



la a Hindu temple, the daily offer of worship to the various deities at different 
times in the day, is of fundamental importance. The day-to-day ceremonies connec- 
ted with the worship are called the Nitya-puja while the occasional ceremonies in 
connection with some special festival are called the Naimittika. The daily offerings 
are obligatory and are very essential to preserve the sanctity of the shrine. They 
represent the basic ceremonial rituals to be performed in the temple, which are 
governed by the agamas. The Vaishnava agamas fall under two groups : the 
vaikhanasa and the pancharatra. The former was perhaps older but not so popular. 
The Pancharatra agama literature came to be considered as authoritative as the 
Vedas by the Bhagavatas, as they contain the quintessence of the religion of devo- 
tion or Bhakti. As the reference to the archa- form or image-worship in the Vedas 
was at best considered to be vague, the pdnchardtraA.iteia.ture which glorified the 
doctrine of avatar a or divine incarnation and the archavatara, or the belief of the 
presence of God in images, were considered superior to the Vedas . 1 The Vaishna- 
vas claim great antiquity for the pancharatra- agamas and consider them to be the 
bedrock of the temple-worship, the pujas, festivals etc. They contain liturgical texts 
with the emphasis on the form, nature and meaning of the rituals, and the earthly 
and spiritual benefits assured to their ardent followers. The word agama is indeed 
the counterpart of mantra or veda and denotes a popular cult wherein practical reli- 
gious formalities and offerings in the form of fruits, flowers, food and drinks made 
with devotion, take the place of incantations and sacrifices . 2 Ramanuja who empha- 
sised the devotional aspect ( Bhakti ) of religion and propagated the need for a perso- 
nal God with all auspicious qualities, found the Pancharatra- literature a great source 
of inspiration. He popularised it in South India by introducing it at Srirangam 
temple and Melkote in the Mysore country. Kanchi also was influenced by his 
reforms. Thus, the three important texts or the samhitas of the pdhcharatr ^-literature 
which are considered to be the “three gems”, were adopted for the three leading 
temples— the Paushkara-samhita at Srirangam, the Jaydkhya-samhita at Hastigiri or 
Kanchi and the Iswara-samhita at Melkote . 3 The interpolated chapter in the 
Jaydkhya-samhita informs us that the Padmasamhita was the commentary and 
elaboration of the Jaydkhya samhita* The former has attained unique popularity 
due to its encyclopaedic range of interests, covering systematically almost all major 
topics of the pancharatra concern. This is followed in our temple for all ceremonial 
rituals connected with the installation of images, consecration ceremonies, festivals, 
offerings etc., and hence a knowledge of the same is considered essential to be the 
chief priest of the temple. 

If the nitya-puja denotes the daily offerings to the deity, the naimittika- class inclu- 

96 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple — Katichi 

des the various festivals ( utsavas ) celebrated in particular months of a year not only 
for the main deity but also for the subsidiary ones. These festivals are not compulsory 
but they add colour and grandeur to the temples. They are great occasions when the 
common folk from even the distant places gather to take part in the celebration. 
But their scale and grandeur are determined by the financial resources of the temple 
and the benefactions of the devotees. From the epigraphs of Sri Varadarajaswami 
temple, we kcow that this temple was richly endowed with provisions for the daily 
offerings ( nitya-nimitangalukkuf as well as a number of festivals which have, in 
the course of centuries, become famous for their grandeur and beauty. 

Section 1 

Puja or Worship 

The ceremonial worship in this temple takes place five times in the day. First 
early in the morning, the second at twelve in the noon, the third in the evening at 
six, the fourth at eight in the night and the fifth and the last at nine in the night, 
after which the temple is closed. Of these, the most important and elaborately done 
is the early morning service. The others are all practically abridged versions 
of the same. The morning worship consists of six asanas or stages. The temple 
priest or the archaka conducts the worship. The first as ana is known as the mantra - 
asana by which the presence of the Almighty is invoked; the second is the snana- 
dsana during which time the tirumanjanam or holy bath is performed to the deity; 
the third is the Alankara- asana when the deity is clothed and adorned with jewels. 
The fourth is the Bhoga-asana when food is offered to the deity. The fifth is the 
mantra-asana when a ceremony called mantra-pushpam is performed i.e., archana is 
done by offering tulasi (basil) leaves and chanting the mantras. This is done for 
about ten or fifteen minutes. Then comes the last stage known as sayana-asana 
when the deity is believed to go to sleep. The puja ceremony is closed with this. 
This last-mentioned service is reserved for the night. 

Another important item in the nitya-puja is what is known as the sevahalam or 
the congregational recitation of the portions of the Prabhandams which takes place 
during the entire duration of the puja. This ritual reaches its climax with sdthumu - 
rai after which the consecrated water ( tirtham ) and food ( prasddam ) are distributed 
to the reciters and other devotees. 

The pDja-ceremonies at other times of the day are not done so elaborately. In 
the evening service mantrapushpam and sevahalam are again done. The last service 
in the night is called popularly in this temple as Tirugusadam , when sweet rice- 
pudding is offered to God before He goes to sleep . 7 

A portion of the consecrated food is taken and offered to the Alvars and Achdryas 
in their respective shrmes. There are archakas or priests in all the attendant or anci- 
llary shrines who attend to the daily puja, holy bath etc., in their respective shrines. 
Separate offerings are done to Narasimha and Perundgvi Tayar. 

Elaborate qualifications and training are stipulated in the agantas and sdstras for 
the temple-priests. The interpolated section of the Jaydkhya-samhita which deals 
exclusively with the system of worship prevailing at Sri Varadarajaswami temple, 
lays down certain basic qualifications. It states that they should be well-versed 

Pujas and Festivals 97 

in the Kanva-Saka and the prapatti-sastras and should be clean in their personal 
life. Preferably, those born in the Kausika and Aupakayan-gbtras should be selected 
and given initiation into the Jayakya-tantra J 

Holy Bath 

Tirumanjanam or abhishekam or the holy bath is a picturesque ceremony in a 
Vishnu temple. It forms an essential daily item in the worship, but it is done only 
to the Bhoga-murti , represented by a silver image. For the mula-bhera , as well as 
Perundevi Tayar, this is done on every Friday. For the Utsava-bhera or the 
processional deity the holy bath is performed on six days in a month and they are : 
the first day of a month, the full-moon day, the New moon day and the day following 
and on the days of the Hasta and Sravana stars. On all these days, the processional 
deity is taken to the abhisheka-mandapa where the holy bath is performed to the 
accompaniment of chanting of Sanskrit and Tamil verses and the periodical display 
of the trumpets and drums. In the evening there would be a procession of the deity 
in the streets. Besides these, on all festive occasions like the Deepavali, Yugadi etc., 
special Tirumanjanams are performed to the Utsava-bhera . 

It is interesting to recall the tradition that Ramanuja used to bring water daily 
from the M< 2 -well to -the temple for the holy bath for the deity. This service known 
as Salaikkinaru-kaimkarya is still continued here and a special man is posted to 
attend to it. A record of Vikr am a Chola dated A.D. 1129 refers to the monthly 
birth-star festival for the Mudal-Alvars during which time Arulalapperumal was 
brought out and bathed daily with eightyone kalasas or water-pots. 9 The endow- 
ments for the holy bath became more in the Vijayanagar times. We have an inscrip- 
tion of A.D. 1540 which records the grant of three villages to meet the expenses 
of 15 Ekadasi days in a year inclusive of the Tirumanjanam. 10 A record of A.D. 1574 
mentions that abhisheka was performed for the Mulabhera every Friday. 11 This 
practice is still continued. Endowments for Tirumanjanam during various festivals 
like Yugadi, Dlpavali etc., are recorded in the epigraphs of the 16th and 17th 
centuries A.D. 12 

The record dated A.D. 1574 mentioned above refers to the objects used for the 
holy bath as Tirumanjana-drivyam but does not specify them. But usually, on such 
occasions, various items are used for bathing the deity such as oil, milk, curd, coco- 
nut-water, rose-water, turmeric, sandal etc. After the bath is over, the images are 
dried with cloth and dressed with fine clothes and bedecked with ornaments and 
fresh garlands. A salad with a mixture of fruits, coconut, honey ( panchdmrutham ) 
and lemon juice ( panagam ) and betels' ( are offered to the deity and later distributed to 
the devotees. An interesting record 13 mentions the items of perfumery and other 
articles used during the holy bath such as : 

Kastari (musk) 

Kunkumappu (saffron) 

Pannlr (rose-water) 

Chandanam (sandal-paste) 

Karptiram (camphor) 

Parimalam (scented oil) 

Pitambaram (fine silk clothe^) 

98 Sri Varadara jaswdmi Temple — Kanchi 

Kasturi or musk is usually placed on the forehead as tilaka before the pundra is 
applied. Kunkumappu or saffron is mixed with water for the bath as it gives a fine 
smell. Refined camphor or Pachai-Karpuram is also added. The ordinary camphor 
(karpura) is used for the Dipa-aratti or waving a light in front of God. Pannir or 
rose-water and sandal-paste mixed with water are used for the bath. 

Another type of application known as Pulukkappu is mentioned in an epigraph 
of Sriranga II dated A.D. 1575. 14 It is a reference to the smearing of civet-oil over the 
image during the abhishekam , after which plain water is poured. Chantpaka-oil was 
also used for the bath. This was done every Friday. 

Special services or Sandhi 

Apart from these normal daily offerings, special offerings or services were insti- 
tuted by kings and other men of note and rank. Such offerings or Sandhis were 
instituted in large numbers in the 12th and 13th centuries and they were often named 
after the donors. One of the earliest of such offerings was the kodandaraman-sandhi 
instituted in honour to Kulottunga III. For these the income from two villages 
amounting to 2,000 pon was donated. 15 The other services instituted during the 
same reign were the Vira-keralan-sandhi and the other Sundara-Pandya-Kalingarayan- 
sandhi. Though the inscription does not specify the nature of the service, it provides 
for the expenses amounting to 3,000 pon required for the service. It included the 
feeding of 45 Brahmins in the two services. 16 In the 11th year of Kulottunga III, 
another service named Dharma-paripalan-sandhi was instituted by Dharmaparipalan 
alias Rajadhiraja Malaiyarayan, one of the Malai-mudalis of the king. 17 

A service named Alappirandan-sandhi was instituted in the 14th year of Rajaraja 
III (A.D. 1230) for which land was donated at Perunagar. This service was named 
in honour of the Sambuvaraya chieftain Edirilisola Sambuvarayan Alappirandan 
alias Rajaraja Sambuvarayan grandson of Sengeni Ammiappan. Another epigraph 
dated A.D. 1247 refers to the same service and adds that it was performed soon after 
the service called the Gandagopalan-sandhi. 1 * The latter was first instituted in 
A.D. 1230 and was subsequently patronised by numerous grants. 19 It seems to have 
been an important and grand service instituted by Tikka I alias Gandagopaladeva. 
The other services mentioned in the epigraph of this time are : Rahuttarayan-sandhi 
called after an officer under Vijayagandagopala; 20 Kumar agopalan-sandhi perhaps 
called after Gandagopala’s son; 21 Amarabaranan- sandhi named after Siyagangan, 
the Ganga Lord of Kuvalpura or Kolar; 22 Anaik attina- Sank aranar ay anana- sandhi 
instituted by Rajagandagopalan in A.D. 1220. 23 

Divya-prabhandam Recital 

In no other temple of South India is the congregational recitation of the inspired 
Tamil hymns of the Alvars and the Acharyas, called the Divya-prabhanda-Sevakalam, 
done before the deity in such a methodical and grand manner as in this temple. This 
service called the Adayapakam- service is rendered both inside the temple on the puja 
occasions and during processions in festival times. It will not be an exaggeration to 
say that it had been one of the important features responsible for making this temple 
famous and much-sought-after by the Sri-Vaishnava devotees. The Divya-prabhanda- 
reciters formed the vanguard of all processions. It is said that the iedas go in 

Pujas and Festivals 99 

search of God, whereas the latter goes in search of the Dlvya-prabhandam, as He 
longs to hear the devotional songs of His devotees. The great poet Kamban, in his 
work Satagopan-andadi, has paid a glowing tribute to Divya-prabhandam r and their 
reciters. 24 He says : 

“The eternal, brilliant Lord of the Universe can transcand the reach of the vedas t the keenest 

intelligence of the learned and the wise; He cannot but be bound by the love-lorn, devotional 

songs of saint (Nammalvar) of Kurukur.” 

In another verse he emphasises that the recital of Tiruvdymoli was the most 
important item in the temple-festivals. He says : 'Had not the saint (Nammalvar) 
come to Kurukhr and rendered into the sweet Tamil all the thousand and odd 
eternal Vgdas, where would the Brahmins, their temples, feasts and festivals and 
their beauties stand ? They would have been nowhere.’ Thus, there is no doubt 
that distinguishing features of a Srl-Vaishnava temple are the offer of worship of the 
twelve Alvars and the recital and exposition of the hymns of Nammalvar and the 
other eleven Alvars. An abridged version containing select excerpts from the works 
of the various Alvars is recited almost daily during the nitya-puja and more elabora- 
tely on the festive occasions. The great acharya Nathamuni resuscitated and codified 
the composition of the Alvars and popularised their singing with musical notes. Fol- 
lowing him, Ramanuja made their recital an important feature in the temples. The 
Acharyas who succeeded Ramanuja and particularly belonging to the Prabhandic 
school, were chiefly responsible for maintaining and preserving the mode and style of 
reciting these Tamil verses. In fact, even today, the vast majorty of the Divya- 
prabhanda ghosfi or reciters in most of the temples of South India belong to the 
Tenkalai school. They are also called Iyal-Ghosp. The rendering of these Tamil 
verses with correct intonations is transmitted from generation to generation by oral 
teachings called Sandhai. These Tamil songs, couched in simple and touching langu- 
age, when rendered in this traditional Iyal style, are extremely moving and a large 
concourse of people is attracted and held spell-bound for hours together. 

Usually, in all the Srl-Vaishnava temples, in the mornings, the Tiruppdvai is recit- 
ed and in the evenings passages from the Nityanusandanam are recited. To the latter 
will be added the relevant passages which are in praise of that particular temple. 
But in Varadaraj as warn! temple, the practice is rather pecuhar. Here, the reciters 
complete the 4,030 verses thrice or four times a year singing fifty verses every day. 
They continue the cycle even when the festival days intervene. On such occasions 
besides reciting their usual 50 verses they recite mere number of verses, as they go 
out in procession. But Nammalvar’ s Tiruvoymoli is recited only within the precincts 
of the temple and never in the streets. 

Besides the Alvars’ Divya-prabhandams , the other Tamil hymns that are recited 
on certain specific occasions are ; Amudanar’s Ramanujanurrandadi and Manavala 
Mahamuni’s Upadesaratnamdlai and Tiruvoymol Unurrandadi. The first one is in 
praise of Ramanuja, the second in praise of the Alvars and acharyas and the last 
in praise of Nammalvar. 

Stotrapata recital 

Sanskrit laudatory verses are also recited in this temple on six specified occasions. 
The members of the Tatacharya family taks a leading part in it. Kurattalvar’s 

103 Sri Varadara jaswami Temple— Kanchi 

Varadardjastavam and Vedanta Desika’s Varadaraja-Panchdsat are recited. 


Offering of water and food or firtham and prasadam to the deities on the different 
occasions or specified hours of the day is an important item in the daily pujas. This 
holy water and food after they are offered to God are distributed among the temple- 
employees and also to the devotees who have gathered for the service. The terms 
used in the inscriptions for the holy food are Amudu , prasddams or taligai. The 
latter term is peculiar to the Vishnu temples. The food is offered thrice in a day in 
the morning ( Udayakalam ), midday ( Uchikalam ) and the early hours of the 
night (< ardhajdmam ). The offering occurs usually at the end of each of the series of 
functions in the course of the worship of the deity. During the late Chola and the 
Vijayanagar days, extensive provisions for the food-offerings are recorded in the 
inscriptions, not only for the daily routine but also on numerous festive occasions. 
In fact, most inscriptions give a long list of details regarding the different proportions 
of the various provisions and groceries required for different kinds of food-offerings. 
During Achyuta Raya’s time, a ' Maha-neivedyam ’ a big special offering was instituted 
in the temple for the king’s merit for which 14 villages were donated. The epigraph 
gives graphic details of the Taligai and other items of groceries. 25 While for the 
daily routine, only ordinary plain rice was offered, special food preparations were 
offered often. They are mentioned frequently in the inscriptions and they make an 
interesting reading : 

(1) Panagam — Lemon juice mixed with water and jaggery. 

(2) Vadaparuppu Gram soaked in water and mixed with salt, green- 

chillies etc. 

(3) Kari-amudu — Cooked vegetable. 

(4) Daddhiyodanam — Rice mixed with curd (S.I.T.I., I, No. 346, p. 318). 

(5) Dosaippadi — Rice-cake (S.I.T I , I, No. 353, p. 325), 

(6) Adirasapadi — Sweet-cake (Ibid, No. 357, p. 332). 

(7) Appapadi — Sweet-cake (Ibid, 354, p, 328). 

(8) Vadai — Cake made with bengal-gram (Ibid, 366, p. 343). 

(9) Sukiyinpadi — Made of dried ginger (Ibid, p. 346). 

(10) Puliyorai — Cooked-rice mixed with tamarind and salt (Ibid, p. 351). 

(11) Ellorai — Cooked-rice mixed with gingelly seed (Ibid, p. 351). 

(12) Kadugorai — Cooked-rice mixed with mustard (Ibid, p. 351). 

(13) Pongal — Rice-pudding (Ibid). 

(14) Iddali — Rice-cake (Ibid). 

(15) Akkaravadasil — Sweet pudding with cooked rice and milk (Ibid). 

Section 2 

Not only through worship and daily service to the deities, but through the 
impressive celebrations of their annual festivals, when the images were taken out iff 
processions, that this temple created religious fervour among the huge crowds of 
people drawn from far and near. The processions of Lord Varadaraja afford a 

PuJas and Festivals 101 

grand spectacle of royal pageantiy. Some of the general features of the festivals can 
be noted here : 

(i) The deity is beautifully dressed and decorated with several costly jewels 
mounted on various vehicles of wooden horse, elephant, lion, swan 
etc., and taken in procession to different quarters of the Kanchi city. The 
Gangai-kondan-mandapam, about 3 miles away from the temple, is the usual 
terminus for all the processions. 

(ii) The deity is given all the traditional royal paraphernalia like huge umbrellas 
(chatra) and chamaras (fly-whisks) as He is considered to be the king of 
kings. Two huge umbrellas, fly-whisks or chamaras flank the deity. The 
priests or archakas sit in front. The processional deity is stopped at various 
places so that the devotees can go near to offer worship. 

(iii) In front of the procession proceed the persons bearing the sacred banners and 
festoons; then follow the trumpeters, drum-beaters announcing the Lord’s 
arrival. Usually, the drums are carried on the horse’s back. Then come 
the caparisoned elephants. Next in order comes the huge concourse of 
Prabhandam-ieciters called lyal-ghosti. They stand closely together and 
move forward slowly reciting the Divya-prabhandams in their characteristic 
mellifluous tones. 

(iv) Behind the deity come the Veda-reciters called Vedaparayana-ghosti, who 
recite the different vedas in the traditional orthodox style. 

(v) Following them come the various Bhajana-ghostis or groups of singers of 
devotional songs, mostly from Tamil prabhandams . They come in groups 
from different parts of Tamil country to take part in this devotional service. 
They are also known as the Bhagavata-ghostis and their recitals are marked 
by great emotion and ecstasy. 

These are the general features of the processions of this temple. Let us now 
review the various festivals that take place in the course of the year. From the 
inscriptions of this temple and the literary references, it is seen that many of these 
festivals have been going on for centuries. In earlier stages, they seem to have been 
done on a smaller scale. But from about 15th and 16th centuries, the festivals and 
celebrations increased in number and grandeur, thanks to the numerous royal 
grants and other private benefactions. 

Chitra (April) 

The most important festival in this month is the Tiruavatara-utsavam which 
celebrates the birth of Sri Varadaraja. This falls on the hasta-stai when the Lord is 
believed to have appeared before Brahma from the sacrificial fire. It marks the 
descent of God Varadaraja on the earth. Special tirumanjanam (bath) and proces- 
sion in the streets around the temple take place. On the full moon day of this 
month called Chitrapaurnami day. Lord Varadaraja is taken in procession to the 
banks of the river Palar for the famous Nadabhavi-utsavam . On the way He 
goes to the Ayyangar-kulam. On the river-bank Brahma-aradana , Brahma’s worship 
of Lord Varadaraja is re-enacted and the same is witnessed by thousands of worship- 
pers. This performance of the festival in A.D. 1 595 is attested by an inscription 
which calls the festival as ‘ TiruvuraV . The latter word refers to the spring-water in 

102 Sri Varadardjasw&mi Temple — KUHchi 

the river-bed where the festival takes place. 

The Thotta-utsava or Garden-festival is another important festival during this 
month. This festival was probably instituted in the 14th century by one Echchaya- 
Dannayakkar, a minister of the Hoysala king Ballala III. 26 Two other epigraphs 
dated S 1471 and S 1473 record grant for making provisions and offerings for the 
garden- festival. 27 It is called Toppu Tir until and Vasanta Toppu utsavam in the 
month of Chitra. In A. D. 1595, the garden was known as Visva-pundita- toppu , 
wherein there was a sixteen -pillared mandapa for the celebration of the festivals. 28 

Vaikasi (May) 

The most famous festival, namely, the Brahmotsava , is conducted on a spectacular 
scale during this month for ten days. The day before the actual commencement of 
the festival is known as the Senai Mudaliar Utsavam or Alvar TirunaL In the even- 
ing of that day, Senai Mudaliar or Vishvaksena is propitiated. He is taken in 
procession to collect the mirtigai or the sacred earth for construction of the altar for 
conducting homa or sacrifice in the mornings and evenings during the ten days of this 
festival. ■ This ceremony of the collection of sacred earth is mentioned as Tiruman- 
pu[udivara in an inscription of Sadasiva’s time (dated A D. 1558). 29 

First day : Early in the morning Sri Varadarajaswami with his consorts Sri-devi 
and BhU-devi is taken in procession from the Hastigiri, gorgeously adorned with 
exquisite jewels to the Vahana-mandapa in the outermost praktira. Then the dwaja- 
rohanam or flag-hoisting takes place to the accompaniment of ritualistic observances, 
as ordained by the Pancharatra-agama. The hoisting of the flag formally signifies 
the commencement of the festival. After this, offerings are made to the guardian- 
deities of the eight cardinal directions known as the Ashtadikpatas . Then the deity 
goes out in procession in a golden vimana or chapram along the streets of Kanchi to 
the Gangaikondtin-mandapa , about 3 miles away, and returns to the temple by about 
10 a.m. 

In the evening, the deity again goes out in procession on the Simha-vtihana (lion- 
vehicle) and returns to the temple by about 9 p.m. After this, takes place a unique 
celebration in this temple called the Dvitiya-raksha-bandanam or Irandam kappu. For 
this Lord Varadaraja is taken back to his shrine on the Hastigiri where this second 
raksha-bandanam is performed. This is very unusual because in the other temples when 
once the Utsavabheras are taken out of their sanctum and the flag-hoisting ceremony 
is completed, they are never taken back to the sanctum-sanctorum till the flag is drawn 
down after the ten-day festival is over. But this peculiar practice was occasioned by 
certain historical circumstances. During the troublesome days of the Muslim inva- 
sion, the main deities weie removed to the Udayarpalayam forest where they remained 
for some years. During this time, substitute idols were installed here and festivals 
conducted. Some years afterwards, when peace prevailed in the land, the original 
images were brought back to Kanchi. Just then, the second day of the annual Vai- 
saka festival was going on. The devotees hastened back to the temple with the 
original image in the evening of the second day. Rejoiced at the happy event, a 
fresh raksha-bandanam was done for that deity and at the same time the festival 
continued with the original deities. This is said to have occasioned the second 
kappu festival which continues to be celebrated even now. 

Pujas and Festivals 103 

The details of the vahanas or vehicles for 

as below : 




Golden chapram (canopy) 


Hamsa vdhanam or swan 


Garuda or the Eagle 


Sesha-vahana (the divine 


Mohini- avatar a (in a golden 


Chapram or canopy— the 
deity is dressed like VSnugo- 


Rathotsava or Tiruther i.e., 


No procession — only Totti 
Tirumanjanam (the deity 
is given a holy bath in a 

this ten-day Brahmotsavam are outlined 

Simharvahana (Lion) 

Surysi-prabhai (Sun-vehicle) 


Chandra-praftto* (the moon-vehicle) 

Yali-vahana (combined form of ele- 
phant and lion) 


No procession 

9th Adum-pallakku (swinging Punyakdti-vimana (canopy) 


10th No procession — only Dwadasa - Vaitiver- chapram procession only 

aradanam within the temple around the temple 

Historical reference to the Vaikasi Festival 

This ten-day Brahmotsava festival has been going on in this temple for many cen- 
turies in the same order in which it is described above. An interesting epigraph of 
the 14th century A.D. enumerates the localities to which the image of the God may 
be taken on the days in which it is carried in procession on elephant, horse and 
garuda vehicles respectively. It stipulates that on these days, the deity should be 
taken upto Rangan Street. But from the day of the car festival on the 7th day, the 
deity should be taken upto the Gangai-kondan-mandapam . 30 The epigraph further 
stipulates four groves ( Toppu ) Seraman-Perumdl-Tiruttoppu, Araperunchelvi 
Tiruttoppu , Senbagattiruttoppu, Rajenadevar-tiruttoppii. This inscription should 
not be mistaken to refer to the genesis of the festival. It only stipulates the routes 
for the procession. The festival was evidently much older. The third day festival 
of Garudotsavam is specially mentioned by Vedanta Desika in his Varadarcija-pan - 
chdsat . Doddayacharya, who lived in the 16th century, has described the beauty 
of the Garuda festival. 31 Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar, the two renowned 
music-composers who lived in the 18th century, have sung ecstatically about this 
festival in their famous compositions beginning with Vinatd suta and Sri Varadardja 

There are many more references in the inscriptions to the grants made at different 
times for providing offerings to God during this Vaikasi festival. 32 An inscription 
dated A.D. 1537 refers to this festival beginning with Alydr-tirunal . An epigraph 
dated § 1493 (A.D. 1572) records the grant of five villages to this temple for con- 

104 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple — Kafichi 

ducting this festival which is called as "‘Tiruvaiyyasi TirunaF, It gives minute details 
of various food offerings made on these festival days and to the distribution of the 
food offerings to the Sri-Vaishnava and other devotees beginning with Ankurarpanam 
and the Dwajdrohanam and ending with the Vidayatti . This epigraph refers to the 
various mandapas where the procession was stopped for making offerings to God. 
They are : Garuda-mandapa , abhisheka-tnandapa, T imm araja-mandapa and Nambi-man - 
dap a and Gangai-k ondan~mandapa. zz 

It is interesting to see even today the presence of a number of stone-built man- 
dapas at various points on the road between the Sri Varadarajaswami temple and the 
Gangai-kondan mandapa, though many of them are in disuse now. Many of them 
have since been converted into shops or hotels. 

Another important festival of this month is that of Nammalvar, the greatest of the 
Vaishnava Alvars for whom there is a separate shrine in this temple. His birth-day 
falls on the Vaisaka- star of the Vaikasi- month and so, happily coincides with the 
annual Brahmotsavam. On the final day (, sathumurai ), Lord Varadaraja is taken in 
procession to the Alvar’s shrine to receive the mangald-sasana (benediction) from His 
great devotee. 

Ani (June-July) 

In this month Kodai-utsavam or summer festival is celebrated for seven days. On 
the eighth day the Lord is mounted on the Garuda -vahana (Ani Garudan). As the 
birth-day of Perialvar coincides with this, the Paratatva-nirnaya festival takes place 
on this day. This festival is mentioned in a record of Sadasiva dated A D. 1558. 34 
It speaks of the procession of Perumal and Perialvar around the streets. Another 
record refers to this festival as Tirupalldndu-Sirappu , 35 The third important festival 
of this month is the Jyeshjdbhisheka of both the utsava images of Perumal and Perun- 
dgvi Tayar. It is conducted on the Sravana- star. It is on this occasion that the 
gold covers or kavachams are removed and, after necessary adjustments are made, 
are again fitted to the icons. 

Adi (July-August) 

In this month is celebrated the Tiruvadipuram festival in honour of Andal or 
Sndikkodutta Nachiar for whom there is a separate shrine in the second prakara. 
The festival culminates in the celebration of the marriage of Andal, the divine 
maiden and the Lord. An inscription of the Vijayanagar times records provisions 
for offerings to Sudikkodutta Nachiar (AndaJ) on the occasion of Tiruvadi-tirundl , 36 
On the Adi full-moon day, the Gajendra-moksha festival takes place. 

The procession takes" place in the night and is confined to the four streets around 
the temple. But perhaps in the Vijayanagar times, the procession went as far as 
the Gangai'kondan-mandapa. An epigraph dated A. D. 1592 refers to the grant of 
a village for conducting the festivals in the month of Adi. During this time, the 
deity used to go to the Gangai-k on dan~mandap a and after his return used to wit- 
ness the Agnistdma- sacrifice. 37 A record dated 21st year registers a grant of 
village by the Telugu-Choda chief Madurantaka Pottapi Cholan for conducting the 
Adi- festival. 38 

Pujas and Festivals 105 

Avani (August-September) 

In this month is performed the Favilrotsava festival. Its object is the expiation 
of the sins of omission and commission arising in the daily worship and other reli- 
gious rites performed in temples. It is essentially a purificatory ceremony. Dur- 
ing this time, Sri Vaiadaraja is decorated with pavitramdld or purificatory garlands 
made of silk thiead. The ceremonies included the performance of Hama and Vedic 
recitations on all da>s. It ends with the Poorna-ahuti. That the pavitrotsavam was 
celebrated even as early as A.D. 1521 is attested by an epigragh. 39 The perfor- 
mance of this festival is referred to in a record of Achyuta Raya dated A.D. 1533. 
It mentioned a grant of many villages for the provision of many important festivals 
including the Tirupavitra-tirunaL 40 This is again referred to in an inscription dated 
A.D. 15 37. 41 

Another important festival of this month is the Sri Jayanti or the birth anniver- 
sary of Krishna which falls on the day of the Rohinu This falls on the 8th day or 
Ashtami of the dark fortnight. The festival celebrates the birth and boyish pranks 
of Krishna. There are special pujas , offerings, holy bath followed by processions. 
Next day is held the Uriyadi festival which symbolises the stealing of butter by 
Krishna. This game creates a lot of fun and frolic, commemorative of the playful 
acts of Krishna as child. An epigraph dated A.D. 1538 makes clear reference to the 
celebration of this festival. It records a grant of money by one Vada TiruvSngada 
Jiyar of Tirupati. 42 

An undated epigraph of the Yijayanagar times informs us that the Uriyadi festival 
was conducted in front of the Hanuman temple — -the place in which it is conducted 
even today. 43 An epigraph dated A.D. 1517 mentions that the main deity used to 
be taken in procession to the Hanuman temple to witness the Uriyadi festival. 44 

Parattasi (September-October) 

The grand Navardtri festival is celebrated for ten days in this month, when both 
Varadaraja and Perundevi Tayar grace the durbar or kolu in the hundred-pillared 
maydapa in the outermost prakdra on the Mahanavami day, an abhishekam or holy 
bath for the deities is performed in the maydapa in front of the Tayar shrine fol- 
lowed by a street procession. The festival of purattdsi mentioned in a 13th century 
record perhaps refers to this festival. 45 

An epigraph dated A D. 1 530 evidently refers to the same festival and calls it 
Mahalakshmi festival in Purattasi. 46 Closely following Navaratn festival comes 
Vijayadasami which is considered as specially auspiciou for the commencement of 
any venture. On this occasion is performed the Vanni-t ree festival. This is men- 
tioned in a record of A.D. 1530. 47 On the Sravana- day of this month is celebrated 
the Sathumurai festival in honour of Sri Vedanta Desika of Vilakkoli koil at Thtlppil, 
a suburb of Kanchi. Desika is brought in procession from his shrine to the Varada- 
rajaswami temple for worship. This is in addition to a festival for Desika enshrined 
in the temple itself in the vahana-mandapa. It is curious that none of the inscriptions 
mentions this festival. 

106 Sri VaradardjasHdmi Temple— Kdhchi 

Aippasi (October-November) 

This month witnessed the festivals for the Mudal-alvars and Manavala-Mahamuni 
besides the Dee pa vail. Perhaps in the Chola days the festival for the Mudal-alvars 
was celebrated on a more attractive scale. As early as A.D. 1129, we hear about 
the festivals in honour of Bhudam and Pey Alvars conducted on their birth-days. A 
grant of the date pro\ides for their worship on 13 days of every year on their birth- 
stars. On these days Arujalapperumal was brought out and bathed with eightyone 
kalasas or pots, and received great offerings. 48 Ankurarpanam a ceremony preliminary 
to the religious feast was also conducted. For this function nine varieties of pulses 
(navadhanya) are kept in nine vessels with water sprinkled over them so as to allow 
for the germination of the seeds. This function is believed to symbolise prosperity 
and therefore done before the commencement of any festival. Manavala-Mahamuni’s 
festival is conducted for ten days in his shrine at the south-eastern corner of the outer- 
most enclosure. The final day i.e., on Moola-nakshatram, Lord Varadaraja is 
brought in procession to Mahamuni’s shrine and made to rest for some time, 
when many verses from the Divya-prabhandam are recited. Then both are taken 
together in procession into the inner precincts of the temple upto the abhisheka-mandapa 
when a picturesque ceremony takes place. After receiving the blessings of the Lord, 
Manavala-Mahamuni returns to his shrine. This old festival was suspended for 92 
years from 1852 owing to sectarian disputes; but revived from the year 1944 under 
the judicial orders. Offerings and festivals in honour of Manavala Mahamuni are 
specifically mentioned in two inscriptions dated A.D. 1555 and 1582. The former 
which belongs to the time of Sadasiva records a grant by Parakala Alagiya Singar 
for offerings to all the 12 Alvars and some acharyas on their birth-days. The a chary as 
mentioned are : Tirukkachi-nambi ( Mrigasirsa ), Emberumanar ( Tiruvdthirai ), 

KUrattalvar ( Hastam ), Nathamunigal ( Anusham ) and Peria Jxyar ( Mulam ). Peria 
Jiyar was Manavala Mahamuni whose birth-star was MulamA 9 The record of 1 582 
clearly mentions Manavala Mahamuni- Arpasi-mula-Sirappu , 60 the festival conducted 
on his annual birth-day for which honours were sent from the main shrine. 

Karthigai (November-December) 

In this month are celebrated the Karthigai festival and the festival for Tirumangai 
Alvar. The latter falls on the Krithika-star. The Karthigai festival was performed 
even as early as A.D. 1533. It was known as Tirukkartigai-tirunal. It is celebrated 
on the full-moon day. The temple premises and private houses outside are all pro- 
fusely illuminated with the traditional earthen lamps. This is observed to propitiate 
Agni (Fire), one of the five elements. 

Margaji (December- January) 

One of the most important festivals in a SrI-Vaishnava temple is the Adhyayana - 
utsavam that takes place in this month for 20 days. The period of this festival is 
divided into two equal parts— the earlier ten days forming the first period or pagal- 
pattu (i.e., days ten) and the latter ten days the second period or irapattu (in ten 
nights). The second half commences on the Vaikunta-Ekadasi day. Here in this 
temple there is no procession during the first half, namely, pagalpattu . On the Bogi 
festival day, there is Tirukkalyanam or marriage performed for the Lord Varada and 

Pujas and Festivals 107 

Andal. The Adhyayana-utsavam is considered as the very soul of a Sri-Vaishnava 
temple because it is a solemn occasion when the intimate relationship between God 
and His devotees— Alvars and Acharyas— is fully brought out. During this time all 
the devotional outpourings of the Alvars are recited in the presence of the chief deity 
and all the Alvars and the Acharyas assembled in front. The second half (10 days) 
is devoted chiefly to the recital of the Tiruvoymoli of Nammalvar, the central figure 
among the Vaishnava canonised saints. At the finishing stage of the recital of the 
Tiruvoymoli , which marks the culmination of the festival, the image of Nammalvar is 
lifted and taken to the feet of the Lord to the accompaniment of the recital of the last 
20 stanzas of the work which give a graphic description of how a released soul 
transcends unto Godhood. He becomes one with the Almighty; but some time after, 
the Alvar is re-granted to the world at the request of the earthly devotees for the 
redemption of humanity. This festival is marked by profound solemnity and dignity. 

A record of Achyuta Raya dated A.D. 1533 clearly refers to the Tiru-adhyayana 
festival and the grant of provision for the same. 51 

Another inscription dated A.D. 1 59 1 records a grant of village for the purpose 
of conducting the Tiru-adhyayana festival in the month of MargaU . 52 It makes parti- 
cular reference to the “ ulagamunda-peruvdyan-sirapptC 5 which is on the sixth day 
after the Ekadasi when the sixth canto of Tiruvoymoli beginning with the words 
“ Ulagamunda-peruvayan ” is recited. 

Besides this, the regular morning Dhanurmasa worship takes place in the temple 
when Andal’s Tamil composition— Tiruppavai — is recited. A special endowment was 
made in A.D. 1527 in the time of Krishnadeva Raya for Dhanurmasa-puja and offer- 
ings for all the 30 days of the month. 63 On the day after the Iyarpa Sattumurai of 
the Adhyayana festival, the Anushtdnakulam festival is performed to commemorate 
the incident in Ramanuja’s life. Varadaraja, accompanied by Ramanuja or Udaiya- 
var, goes to the Ma-well (about two miles away from the temple) from where Rama- 
nuja is believed to have carried water to the temple daily. There is now a small 
temple for Ramanuja near the well. On the return, the chief deity is dressed like 
a hunter ( Vedan ) as he once appeared to Ramanuja. There seems to be a reference 
to this festival in an undated record of Vijayanagar king. 54 

Thai (January-February) 

This month is famous for the Parivettai festival at Sivaram, a place about ten 
miles east of Kanchi and on the banks of the River Palar. Varadaraja goes there in 
the early hours of the morning. He is taken up the hill and stationed at a temple 
there. Thousands of people who gather from all neighbouring villages go up the 
hill and offer worship. In the evening, He is taken to the river and then back to 
Kanchi. The reference to Parivettai in a record dated !§ 1470 (A.D. 1548) may 
be to the festival. 55 In the same month, on the Pournami day, the floating festival is 
conducted in the enchanting Anantasaras tank within the temple. The Lord and His 
consort are taken into a wooden pavilion which slowly floats and glides on the water. 
The pavilion is beautifully illuminated. 

The festival in honour of KUrattalvar takes place durtng the /fas ta- star of this 
month. As the author of the famous Varadardjastavam and as one who was a close 
associate of Ramanuja, he is specially honoured in this temple. Offering on Kurat- 

108 Sri VaradarSjaswSmi Tempte—Kfflchl 

talvar's birth-day is recorded in an epigraph dated A.D. I555. 58 

M&si (February-March) 

Another grand heating festival or Teppotsavam takes place in this month at Raja- 
kulam or Rayajee tank about six miles from Kahchi. It takes place on the full- 
moon day. There are references to this festival in the inscriptions of the temple which 
mention it as udam-tirmal. 

This is followed immediately by Davana-utsavam or Garden-festival for three days 
within the temple garden called now as Dorai Thottam. This is a festival for both 
Perumal and Tayar. 

Panguni (March-April) 

In this last month of the year is conducted the Panguni-Pallava Utsavam for 
seven days when the sthalapurana of the temple viz., the Hastigiri Mahatmiya is read 
in the hundred-pillared mandapa in the presence of Lord Varada. 

In the same month is celebrated the marriage festival for Malayala Nachiyar for 
whom there is a separate shrine in the temple. This is held for a week ending with 
the marriage on the Uttiram day. This is a unique festival for this temple and it 
attracts a vast concourse of devotees who are delighted to witness the divine marriage 
on the auspicious day. 

The performance of this festival in A.D. 1582 is attested by an epigraph of Srl- 
rangaraya. It records endowment for offerings to be made during this festival 
which is specially called Serakula-ndchiar-pangunPuttiram-sattumurai. It also in- 
forms us that on that day Serakula-nachiar, Varadaraja and Senai-mudaliar were 
taken in procession to a garden named Dalavay-toppu where offerings were 

Thus, it will be seen from the foregoing that the temple bristles with festivals all 
through the year. They have been arranged with great forethought and planning, 
so that many of them are appropriate to the season and weather-conditions. For 
instance, the grand annual Brahmotsavam takes place in the month of May when 
the vast agricultural population has resting time; the Teppotsavam or floating festi- 
val in Mdsi soon after the rainy season is over, when the tanks would be full to the 
brim. Even though there is evidence attesting to the occurrence of the annual and 
a few other festivals in the Chola days, it is clear from the inscriptional evidences 
cited above, that it was during the Vijayanagar times— from about the 14th century, 
the festivals increased both in number and grandeur. The rituals and functions in 
the temple also increased which correspondingly needed new types of structures like 
the Kalyana-mandapa, uhjal-mandapa and Vasanta-mandapa. 

Any description of the Kahchi festivals can hardly do justice to their grandeur. 
The vast multitude that throng the thoroughfares and the temple premises and wait 
for hours on end to have a glimpse of the Lord, the great devotional surge that one 
witnesses in the emotional recitation of the Vedas and the Divya-prabhandams , the 
bhajanas or singing-parties, the graceful march of the Lord from the temple to the 
Gangaik ondan-mandapa and back, amidst the milling crowds, all these scenes are to 
be seen to be believed. 

Pujas and Festivals 109 


1. It is generally considered that the image- 
worship was not popular in the Vedic 
period. Even the agamas explicitly state 
that idols eie a mere help though a 
very necessary one for the sadhaka 
(worshipper) to conceive and meditate on 
God. Vishnu-samhita , XXIX, 55-57. 

See also S. Dasgupta : A History of Indian 
Philosophy , III (1952), pp. 18-19. 

2. V. Rangacharya, Historical Evolution of 

Sri-Vaishnavism in South India , The 

Cultural Heritage of India, op. cit., p. 164, 
note 1. 

3. H. Daniel Smith : PdTicharatra prasada - 
prasada, Madras, 1963. 

4. Jaydkhya Samhita , Gaekwad Oriental 
Series, No. LTV, Baroda, 1931, verses 
8, 9, 12 and 13. 

5. S.I.T.I, I, No. 424. 

6. L.A. Ravi Varma, Rituals of Worship , 
The Cultural Heritage of India, The 
Ramakrishna Mission Institute, Vol. IV, 
pp. 445 ff. 

7. This ‘Tiruvusadam’ offering is mentioned 
in a record datable to A.D. 1530 (S.I.T.I , 
I, No. 357, p. 333). 

8. Interpolated chapter of the Jayakya - 
Samhita , verses 90-120. 

9. S.I.I., Iir, No. 80. 

10. S.I.T.I., No. 358. 

11. S.I.T.I., No. 343. 

12. Ibid, No. 346. 

13. S.I.T.I., No. 372. 

14. S.I.T.I., No. 343. 

15. S.IX, IV, No. 853. 

16. S.I.T.I., I, No. 355. 

17. 566 of 1919. 

18. 566 of 1919. 

19. 432,446,463 etc. of 1919. 

20 568 of 1919. 

21. 508 of 1919. 

22, 44 of 1893. 

23. 489 of 1919. 

24. Satagoparandadi verse, Vedattin mun 

25. S.I.T.I., I, 357. 

26. 401 of 1919. 

27. 530 and 509 of 1919. 

28. S.I.T.I., No. 370. 

29. 585 of 1919. 

30. 604 of 1919, S.I.T.I., Vol. I, No. 345. 

31. See Appendix I for details of such des- 

32. S. I. ,T. I , No. 372. 

33. S.I.T.I., I, No. 569. 

34. 585 of 1919. 

35. 657 of 1919. 

36. S.I.T.I., I, 372. 

37. 381 of 1919. 

38. 419 and 432 of 1919. 

39. S.I.T.I, I., ’No. 346. 

40. Ibid , No. 406. 

41. 422 of 1919. 

42. 579 of 1919. 

43. S.T.T.I., No. 372, p. 357. 

44. S.I.T I., No. 391, p. 376. 

45. 432 of 1919. 

46. 646 of 1919; S.I.T.I., No. 378. 

47. S.I.T.I., No. 378. 

The Fawn-tree (Piosopis Spicigerd) is 
held specially ausipious, the worship of 
which would grant many boons. Rama 
is said to have worshipped it before he 
started his search for his lost wife, Sita. 

48. S.IX, III, No. 80. 

49. S.I.T.I., No. 390. 

50. 479 of 1919. 

51. S.I.T.T., I, 406. 

52. 421 of 1919. 

53. 439 of 1919. 

54. S.I.T.I., I, 372. 

55. 482 of 1919. 

56. S.I.TX, 1,390. 



The position of the temple as an institution providing work for a large number 
of people is a striking feature of the socio-economic life of the mediaeval times. 
Large temples afforded ample opportunities to the people of the locality to serve the 
temple in various capacities involving religious, administrative and other quasi -reli- 
gious and manual work. We know that the great temple at Thanjavur had nearly 
600 employees on its rolls in A.D. 10 LI. 1 The koil-olugu , the chronicle of the Sri- 
rangam Vishnu temple, gives graphic details of the various classes of the temple- 
servants and their duties. 2 Though no such written account is available for the Vara- 
darajaswami temple, the inscriptions therein provide us with valuable data regard- 
ing this aspect. The temple employees are referred to by many general terms such as 
koil-parivarangal, koil-paniseivargal, Uliyakkarargal . 3 A record dated 35th year of 
Kulottunga Chola III (circa A.D. 1213) informs us that there were 200 women (padi- 
yilar ) serving in this temple. They were known as T ribhuvana- vTrad e van-pad iyilar, 
perhaps named after the king’s title — Tribhuvana-vira-devan . 4 The same inscription 
also informs us that these 200 persons were provided with lands and houses. Perhaps 
this was the general pattern followed by way of remunerating the temple servants. 
Unfortunately, the record does not give the details of the various servants and their 
functions. The true import of the numerous names and designations that occur in 
many other epigraphs is discussed in the light of the data available in the koil-olugu 
and in the inscriptions of other temples. The history of the management is traced 
under a separate section. 

The functionaries of the temple can be studied under three broad categories : 

(i) those engaged in purely spiritual or religious services like the performance of 
the puja or worship, chanting the sacred hymns etc ; 

(ii) those engaged in rendering various kinds of quasi-religious, artistic and 
other manual work; and 

(iii) those appointed to do administrative work pertaining to matters like 
the management, supervision over the staff, the maintenance of accounts etc. 

Section 1 


(1) Jlyars 

The most highly respected spiritual or religious dignitaries who were in charge of 
the proper conduct of the religious ceremonies, worship and other procedures were 
the Jlyars. A few Chola records of the temple make pointed reference to the 
presence of the * koil-Jiyars * though the exact nature of their religious duties is not 

112 Sri VaraJirdja wdmi Temple — Ranchi 

specified. 5 But we know from the works like the Koilolugu and the Tirvmalai-olugu 
that the Jlyars were functioning as the spiritual heads in both the temples at Srlran- 
gam and Tirupati from the days of Ramanuja. They were the authorities in the 
modes and procedures of the ceremonies, connected with the worship. 

The Jlyars were ascetics (sanyas is). Usually, persons of sound knowledge of the 
scriptures and good character were selected for the Jiyar’ s position. They need not 
be necessarily celebates, but persons leading a normal married life ( grihastas ) were 
also often chosen. But after the selection, they should renounce their household 
duties and other material comforts and take to the ascetic life, dedicating themselves 
to the religious service. The Jlyars had their own mathas or monasteries, having a 
number of disciples who sought spiritual initiation and enlightenment. 

From the records of the 15th, the 16th and the 17th centuries of our temple, we 
learn that successive Jlyars with the monastic cognomen Alagiya-manavala-Jiyar 
functioned as the spiritual heads in this temple. They were known as the Koyil-Kelvi - 
Jlyar i.e., the Jiyar who was the Koil-Keki or the temple superintendent, just like 
Vada-Tiruvengada Jiyar was the Koil-Kehi of the Tirumalai temple, more or less at 
the same period. 

The Jlyars held an important and honoured place in the temple hierarchy and 
their presence during momentous occasions attests to this. Thus, when the Vijaya- 
nagar king Krishnadeva Raya specified the routes to be followed by the cars of the 
Sri Varadarajaswami temple and the Ekamresvarar temple, the former was represent- 
ed by the Jlyars, Stanattars and the Accountant 6 

Many are the epigraphs which specify the shares in the prasadam (holy food) of 
the Jlyars. A record dated A.D. 1562 allots one fourth of the share to Alagia Mana- 
vala Jiyar. 7 Whereas a record dated 1595 allots a share to the Jiyar equal to that 
of the Stanattars and the Sri-Vaishnavas of the temple. 8 

The Alagia-manavala Jlyars held an eminent position in the temple even as late 
as A.D. 1724 as attested by the copper plate grant of that date. 9 But, they 
seem to have lost their eminent position of koil-kelvi in the wake of the sectarian 

However, the Alagia-manavala-Jiyar-7fta//za is still there at Kanchi and the Jiyar 
attends the morning and evening services regularly every day and takes part in the 
recital of the Tamil hymns ( Divya-prabhandams ) along with the Tenkalai adhyapakas 
or reciters. During the festivals, the Jiyar takes a leading part in the procession 
along with his prabhandam reciters. 

(2) Sri-Vaishnavas of the temple 

Members of the many Sri-Vaishnava families did the duties of chanting the Sans- 
krit vedas and the Tamil prabhandams. Many Choi a and later epigraphs mention 
them as the Koil- Sri-Vaishnavas. 1 * An epigraph of Kulottunga III (A.D. 1178-1216) 
mentions them as the Tiruppadi-Sn-Vaishnavas, the word Tiruppadi meaning here 
“the sacred shrine”. 11 From two records of the reign of the same king, we learn 
that they constituted an important body who entered into agreements with the do- 
nors, accepted donations and agreed to implement the provisions of the agreement. 
They anticipated the StaJattars of the later periods (481 and 493 of 1919). Another 
record refers to them as “Perumal Koil-Srf-Vaishnavas”. 12 They were entitled to get 

Functionaries and History of Management 113 

a regular share in the sanctified food or any other special offerings. 13 A number of 
epigraphs of the 15th and 16th centuries frequently refer to the lyal-sevikkum-Sri - 
vaishnavas i.e., the Srl-Vaishnavas reciting lyal or Tamil hymns. 14 An epigraph 
dated A.D. 1242 records the grant of 17| veils of land to 58 Brahmins reciting the 
Vaishnava hymn TiruvoymoUP Another record refers to the Sn- Vaishnavas reciting 
the Vedas and says that they were paid some cash also. 16 Even today, there is what 
is known as the adhyapaka-mirds by which many reciters of the sacred hymns get a 
regular emolument in kind and cash. 

In the 17th century, a few selected Sri- Vaishnava leaders received the honour of 
precedence in reciting the Tamil hymns and receiving the Tirtham and prasadam i.e., 
holy water and food. It is known as the arulappada honour which is being 
enjoyed hereditarily. 17 

(3) Archakas 

The officiating priests who conduct the worship in the inner shrines are called 
the archakas or Bhattacharyas . Now there are ten priests to attend to the various 
shrines in the temple by a system of rotation (mural). There are separate priests for 
the shrines of the Alvars and the acharyas. A record of the 13th century informs 
us that there were 10 Battar s (priests) in the temple at the time. 18 The one who did 
service at the main sanctum was known as Periaperumal-Nambi and the names of 
some of the other priests were : Karunakara-Battar, Devappiran Varadaraja-Battar. 
The priest attending to the Narasimha shrine was known by the general name Singap- 
perumal-Dikshitar. 19 The priest in charge of dressing the deity was called Singara- 
nambi. 20 Some of the names of the priests occurring in the inscriptions are interest- 
ing. They are : — 

(1) Sridhara Battar 21 

(2) Ramanuja-Govinda Battar 22 

(3) Alagiya-manavala-Battar 23 

(4) Narasinga Battar 24 

(5) Vasudeva Battar. 25 

As already seen, the interpolated chapter in the Jayakhya-Samhita lays down certain 
qualifications of birth and training for the priests of this temple. 26 

In the older times, the priests of the temples were provided with houses to live 
in and some lands for sustenance, besides a regular share in the daily food-offerings. 
Thus, a record datable to the first half of the 14th century registers a gift of a house- 
site and some privileges to a priest named Narasinga Battar of this temple. 27 Any 
donation for festival or offerings made special allotment of a share thereof for the 
priests. The practice continues even today. But now no residential quarters are given. 
Only a share in the food and some cash award constitute their remuneration. Money 
collected through the individual devotees and pilgrims by way of performing the 
archanas (special worship) goes to the priests. But on the whole, their income is 
poor and is hardly commensurate with the labour and time spent. 

(4) Paricharakas 

They are the attendants who render assistance to the officiating priests. They do 
various smaller duties like the supply of water for the holy bath and various other 

114 Sri Varadarajaswdmi Temple — KdHchi 

sundry items like the incense, camphor etc., at regular intervals to the priest when 
the latter is engaged in performing the pit] a. 

These employees are referred to in an epigraph dated A.D. 1592 as the Sannidhi 
Parichdrakas , the attendants in the shrine. 28 

(5) Vinnappam-seivar 

They were the temple singers and reciters. According to the Koil-ofugu, they 
were known as the Araiyars at Srirangam. They used to sing the Tamil prabhandams 
in front of the deity in a particular musical note, accompanied by the vitta. Some- 
times, they would show gestures and act. Particularly, their swingsongs during the 
swing-festival ( Onjal ) and Tiruppalli-ehichi in the month of mdrgali are mentioned in 
the o[ugu. The Araiyars are still functioning at Srirangam. We know from an ins- 
cription dated A.D. 1242, that there were 22 vinnappam-seivar of the Brahmin caste 
at the Varadaraja temple. 29 

(6) Tiramanjanam-edukkiravar (carriers of holy water) 

This is a class of Brahmin employees engaged in bringing water from the river 
for the holy bath. On festive occasions, they used to go in groups and carry water 
in decorated silver or brass vessels for the anointment. They are mentioned in the 
two records dated A.D. 1536 and 1540. 30 The former record mentions that each 
of them was paid one panam per day as wage. 

Section 2 


Besides those engaged in the purely religious duties, there were numerous emplo- 
yees rendering various kinds of semi-religious and other physical service to the 

(1) Swayampakis (cooks) 

There was a kitchen or madappallj in the temple. An epigraph of even the 1 1th 
century refers to the construction of a kitchen (Mahan asa) in the temple. 31 It was 
meant to prepare taligai or food of various kinds to be offered to the deities The 
cooks were regular employees of the temple getting remuneration both in kind and 
cash. Their chief duties were, the preparation of food, making the cooked rice into 
blocks, and taking them to the various shrines from the kitchen. They are not 
hereditary servants, “but are appointed from time to time. An inscription dated A.D. 
1591 mentions the share of food to the Swayampakis from the offerings made by a 
donor. 32 Apart from cooking the normal quota of food for the daily offerings, the 
cooks have to prepare special kinds of food during the festival times for which they 
would get extra allowance in kind and cash. 

(2) Viniyogam-seivar (food-distributors) 

These were in charge of distributing the consecrated food to the customary clai- 
mants as well as the ordinary devotees who have gathered for a particular service. 
There was one head for this class called “Viniydgam-seiyum parupatyakarar” 33 who 

Functionaries and History of Management 115 

supervised the distribution and saw to it that it was made in accordance with the 
conditions in force. Probably he was responsible for making over the stipulated 
shares for various service-holders. 

(3) Singan-murai (suppliers of fuel) 

These were in charge of the supply of fuel to the kitchen. The fuel is frequently 
referred to in the epigraphs as Erikarumbu . 3i This service called Singan-murai is 
mentioned in the Tirupati inscriptions as well as Tirumalai-Ohigu , 35 

(4) Sri-padam Tangiravarse 

This phrase refers to the devotees who carry the processional deities within the 
precincts of the temple. This is not a fixed office, but it is often rendered as a volun- 
tary service. 

(5) Mun-tandu-pin-tandu-pidikkaravar or Kodi-karar 37 

This refers to the labourers who carry the deities mounted on the big vehicles or 
vahanas in the streets, outside the temple. Mostly the labourers did this difficult 
and strenuous work. The vahanas are very heavy and are usually fixed to a large 
flat wooden plank. Large and thick wooden poles about 100 ft. long are tied to the 
bottom and lifted by labourers who divide themselves into four groups for the four 
sides. The terms mun-tandu , pin-tandu refer to the poles in front and at the back of 
the deity. They were paid daily wages in cash, besides food. 

(6) Kodi-kudai-al 38 (banner and umbrella-bearers) 

This refers to the labourers who carry the banners and the umbrellas. There are 
special colourful banners, with the Vaishnava-symbols which are carried in front of 
the festival processions. 

Similarly, one of the things for which Kahchipuram is famous, is the making of 
huge and beautiful temple umbrellas which are carried on either side of the deity. 

(7) Ther-niminda-al 39 (car -pullers) 

This refers to the labourers who were engaged in directing and pulling the huge 
wooden car along the streets on the seventh day of the annual festival. The wheels 
are huge, about 10 ft. in diameter. As it is difficult to pull the car straightaway, 
persons were engaged in inserting long poles as an incline-lever behind the wheels and 
press it so that wheels would move and once they got moving, it was easy to pull the 
car. This term niminda perhaps refers to this initial operation in starting the car. 
The car-pullers were given wages which is mentioned as Vadam-piditha-kuli , vadam 
meaning the thick ropes tied to the car for pulling. 40 

(8) Tiruvldi-pandam-pidittavan 41 (torch-bearers) 

There were a number of torch-bearers in all processions both inside the temple and 
in the outer streets. A bundle of cotton rags tied around iron prongs at the end of 
a wooden handle and soaked in the gingelly or ground-nut oil and lighted usually 
served as the light or the pandam. It is called Tivatti . A long metal rod was also 
used as handle. This is called by an epigraph as TiruIckulaFpandam. 42 The wages 

116 Sri Vararfarfi jaswdmi Temple— KSnchi 

for the light -bearer are described in an epigraph as Tivatti-sumanda-kuli , a 

(9) Tiruvijakku-karan 

This office is mentioned in an epigraph of A.D. 1572. 44 Perhaps, he was res- 
ponsible for all the lighting arrangements in the shrines, entrances, outer precincts 
and the processions. 

(10) Men in charge of crackers 

A few persons were specially engaged in letting fireworks and crackers during 
the festivals. On certain nights there would be a splendid show of colourful lights 
and crackers. Such persons are mentioned as vanam-sudikkum-aL * 5 

(11) Sculptors (Silpis) 

This class of artisans is mentioned as silpis in an inscription dated A.D. 157 1. 46 
They were an important class of well-trained artisans, steeped in the architectural 
traditions and texts. Here in South India, this continues to be a hereditary family 
profession. In such a vast temple complex the need to employ this class is quite 
obvious. Besides structural additions or alterations, repairs to the existing struc- 
tures must have been entrusted to them. One inscription refers to them as those who 
undertake repairs to the mandapas ( Mandapam Seppanidugira ). 47 

Now the sculptors or masons are not permanently on the rolls of the temple emp- 
loyees. But, formerly, they seem to have been employed regularly to attend to 
various constructional and repair-activities and special grants of lands were given to 

(12) Carpenters 

There were also temple carpenters to attend to various duties like the making or 
repairing of the vahanas or vehicles, preparing the wooden poles to carry them, 
wooden pedestals, wooden handles for umbrellas etc., which were needed from time 
to time. The making of the huge wooden car with exquisite ornamental work must 
have involved considerable labour and ingenuity. This class is mentioned in inscrip- 
tions dated A.D. 1558 and 1572. 48 From the latter epigraph we learn that on the 
eve of the car festival the carpenters were in charge of seeing that the car was put in 
road-worthy condition and carry out any repairs, if necessary. Often, the carpenters 
were given lands named Tacha-maniam. 

(13) Blacksmiths 

The record dated A.D. 1558, referred to above, mentions this class of artisans as 
kGrumdrs , engaged to do certain works in the temple. Their services were also needed 
in the preparation and maintenance of the wooden car and other vehicles with their 
vast network of bolts and nails. Besides, they had also to supply solid iron-blocks 
to be placed in front of the wheels of the car in order to stop it at various places 
from moving. This is specially mentioned in an epigraph as “ Tiruther Irumbu 

Functionaries and History of Management 117 

(14) Goldsmiths 

Though there is no direct reference to them in any of the epigraphs, we can easily 
presume that they were of immense service to the temple. We get a number of refe- 
rences to the donations of costly golden and other precious stone jewels to the deity — 
like the golden yajnopavlta 50 (sacred thread), golden krlta (headgear), sankha , chakra, 
abhaya-hasta (a covering over the hand set in precious stones). 51 All the deities were 
endowed with gold ornaments like necklaces, armlets etc. To make such jewels as 
well as renew and burnish the old ones from time to time, the services of the gold- 
smiths were required by the temple which perhaps allotted certain lands for the 
goldsmiths (Tattdra mdniam), as it was done in many villages. 

(15) Bronze and bell-metal workers 

Another important class of artisans whose services are indispensable for a temple 
were the metal workers who made a number of bronze idols from time to time. A 
variety of brass lamp-stands were presented to the temple. 52 Like sculptors, they 
must have also been in regular employment receiving fixed annual remuneration in kind 
and occasional cash rewards. They also prepared the bells and gongs in the temple used 
during the ceremonies and festivals. They also made the metal sheet coverings over 
the stone steps, sikharas and thresholds in the temple. 

(16) Potters and Washermen 

Both the classes should have been on the regular rolls of the temple-employees. 
Potters supplied the necessary cooking vessels and pots for keeping the grains, cereals, 
sandal paste etc. 

Washermen cleaned the garments of the deities daily. Besides this, they had to 
supply the necessary waste-cotton or cloth for the processional torches. 

Probably they were granted lands by the temple for their maintenance. Even now 
a special festival is held annually to honour the potters, washermen, barbers etc., 
serving in the temple. 

(17) Pandal-erecters 

Erection of pandal or shamianas with the help of dried coconut leaves on a vast 
scale is a special feature of all festivals in South India. Rows of bamboo or other 
poles would be erected or planted in the ground and over them cross poles would be 
fixed or tied and then the plaited and dried coconut leaves, each about two metres 
long, would be spread and tied. This would provide the necessary shade around the 
temple for the pilgrims. The edges of the ceilings of the pandal would be decorated 
with festoons, pendants etc. Probably a special batch of men attended to this work 
who were paid daily wages. An epigraph dated 1553 mentions them as pandal - 
singdrikka-al-kuli . 53 

(18) Garden-keepers and Garland-makers 

Maintenance of gardens and supply of garlands and flowers to the temple was 
considered a pious duty. Perialvar and Tondaradipodi Alvar spent their life-time in 
this sacred duty. We find in the epigraphs of the Choi a and Vijayanagar times a 
number of references of a class of people named Dasa-nambis . Much of the garden- 

118 Sri Vara Jar djaswdmi Temple -~K&Hchl 

service was done by them not only in Kanchi but also at Tirumalai, Srlrangam, Srl- 
perumbadilr. A record dated the time of Gandagopaia refers to the Tirutna - 
laichdttam Das a nambi i.e., the Ddsa-rtambi who supplies the garland. Numerous are 
the grants of lands particularly specified for rearing flower-gardens for the supply of 
flowers to the temple. The services rendered by the class are considered separately 
in a later context. 51 

Section 3 


Even from the Choja days, a number of administrative and supervisory officers 
worked in this temple to manage its affairs. The earliest among them were the 
Vdriar and the Karanattdn, both of them mentioned in a record datable to A.D. 
1155. 55 The former is explicity stated to be in charge of the management of the 
temple whereas the latter’s dulies are not specified in the record. However, both 
are mentioned in connection with the responsible work of receiving and supervising 
the endowments made to the temple by the assembly {sabha) of a nearby village. 
The explicit statement in the epigraph about the Variars is : Arulalapperumal koil 
Srlkdryam seyyum Variapperumakkal. This clearly means the great men of the variant 
who are doing the Sri-karyam or the management of the Arulalapperumal temple. 
From this record, it is quite clear that the Sri-karyam was the office and the body of 
people called the Variapperumakkal were in charge of it. Who were these variapperu - 
makkal ? Variam may literally mean a committee of chosen or selected men to 
execute certain works. Early mediaeval epigraphs of Tamilnad are replete with 
instances of the village- assemblies appointing a number of variams or committees to 
look after the special works such as the supervision of lakes, gardens, irrigation etc. 
Likewise was the variapperumakkal of the Arulalappermal temple, a committee of 
the village assembly, appointed to look after the management of the temple. Possi- 
bly it was so; but the evidence is not clear, especially because there is no mention 
about the sabha or any other form of assembly in the inscriptions of Varadarajaswami 
temple. However, what appears more plausible is that AttiyUr, being essentially a 
small temple-village, might have had a committee of Great Men or Elders — Vdria- 
pperumakkal— to look into the affairs of the temple as well as the village. Such 
instances of religious bodies or corporations having quasi-public character are not 
unknown in the mediaeval South India. A similar case in point is a record of a 
temple at Uttiramerur which mentions the transactions done by the Variapperuma - 
kkal Prof. Nilakanta Sastri, who has examined that record at length observes : 
“The phrase {variapperumakkal) may mean great men doing i driam and may only 
be another form of the term vdriyar; but it looks very much like meaning ‘members 
of the variam ’ the last being understood as a committee. But it should be noticed 
that there is no reference whatever to the sabha in this record, and possibly the 
vdriyam of this record had nothing to do with the sabha.”™ So, we may not be 
wrong if we take the variapperumakkal of our record to be a committee of elders 
elected or appointed by the village-people to look after the local affairs of the village 
as well as the temple which were closely linked together in multifarious ways. The 
conspicuous absence of any mention about any known form of administrative assem- 

Functionaries and History of Management 119 

biy for the Attiyur village sabha , Ur or Nagaram and designating the members of the 
variant as 4 perumakkaV or great men or elderly men in the inscriptions lend support 
to this view. Indeed, in the entire gamut of the epigraphs of Sri Varadarajaswami 
temple, ranging for a long period from the 11th to the 18th century, there is no 
mention of assembly of the village anywhere. On the other hand, for the early 
periods we get the term variapperumakkal and for the later period, the stanattdr who 
were in charge of the temple-management. Perhaps, the latter people were the lineal 
descendants of variapperumakkal and were in charge of not only the affairs of the 
temple but also those of the village as a whole. 

It is interesting to find the slow evolution that the c variarrC underwent. A record 
of slightly later period mentions that Koil-varian and karanattan received the cash 
endowment on behalf of the temple. A record of Kulottunga III dated to A D. 1190 
registers the receipt of cash by the koil-varian and the karanattan 57 A later record 
belonging to Rajaraja III (5th year— A D. 1221) records a gift of cash received by 
them. 58 The mention of a single official varian instead of a body of men £ variapperu - 
makkaV may well indicate that sometimes the executive power was transferred from 
a committee to one or more officials named varian , or it may simply mean that varian , 
as a representative of the committee, did the functions of a committee as a whole. 
Similar instances of the variars together with the karanattars functioning as the 
managers of a temple which were till then done by a committee or assembly, are 
known to us from places like Suclndram in Kanyakumari District. 5 * 

Anyway, the record cited last which is dated A.D. 1221, is the last one that 
speaks of the varian. After that they are no longer heard of. Instead, we see the 
emergence of a new group or board of managers or trustees named the stanatfdrs. 


As mentioned earlier, this is one of the important officers of the temple mentioned 
in the early records. He was evidently the accountant and the record-keeper. In 
fact, the word karanam means document and obviously therefore karanattan was in 
charge of the drafting of the documents and the proper unkeep of the accounts. In the 
two records datable to A.D. 1155 and 1189, he is mentioned along with the variars 
as the authorities with whose knowledge and acceptance the endowments are made. 60 
In one they are said to receive the cash endowment made for the temple. Probably, 
while the variars were the executive officials or managers, the karanattan was in charge 
of the maintenance of the accounts of all transactions. Later on, the designation 
seems to have been slightly modified. In the later records, he is designated koil- 
kanakku, and invariably all the records of the Chola and Vijayanagar kings, re- 
gistering the temple transactions, were written in his presence and signed and 
authenticated by him. Almost every inscription of this temple thus ends with the 
words “Ivai koil-kanakku (name of the individual) j Efuttu” meaning that these were 
written by koil-kanakku or the temple accountant. Incidentally, we get a number of 
interesting personal names of the accountants at various times. Mostly, they added the 
name Arulalapriyan 61 (lover of Arulala) or Tiru AttiyUr Priyan 62 (lover of the sacred 
Attiyur) to their surnames. 

The accountants were probably not granted any lands because none of the inscrip- 
tions has any reference to that effect, but they were probably given remuneration in 

120 Sri VaradarBjQ* ndn;i Temple — K&Hchi 

kind, like paddy and also some cash. In addition, they were given a specific daily share 
in the cooked rice. Besides this in all endowments for festivals and other offerings, 
a special mention is made of the share of the prasadam (consecrated food and other 
delicacies) to the accountant. This shows that they enjoyed certain special duties and 
privileges during the festivals and ceremonies. 

In a record of Krishnadeva Raya dated S 1439 (A.D. 1517) the accountant 
is called the A anaLku pillai 63 by which he is mentioned in all 17th and 18th century 
recoids and he has signified so in important documents of the temple. We know for 
certain, that till a few decades ago, the post was hereditary. The office of Kanakku - 
pillai still continues under the same name. 


Sri-BIunddram was the temple treasury and those who were in charge of the 
treasury were known as the Sri-Bhandar attar. The large amount of cash and gold 
that accrued to the temple’s credit through donations and income were deposited in 
the safe-vaults of the temple. Apparently, they were at first a merely receiving and 
distributing body; but later on, came to possess also administrative powers like 
selling of the temple lands on suitable conditions. Thus, while most of the transac- 
tions were approved of by the stanattar , a few which involved cash-gifts, were done 
by Sri-Bhandar attar, either all alone or along with the stanattar. For instance, in 
A.D. 1537, a cash gift of 80 gold panam was received by the Sri-Bhandar attar who 
agreed to utilise the interest towards certain offerings. 64 In this record, the stanattars 
are not mentioned. On another occasion in A.D. 1537, in connection with the 
refixing of the temple’s share from its lands cultivated by its tenants, the transactions 
were agreed to by Sri- Bhandar at tar and the Sri-karyam . 65 Similar instances are 
recorded in many other inscriptions. 66 

Besides the treasury of the main temple, there seem to have been separate treasu- 
ries for certain subsidiary shrines of the temple. This is borne out by a record dated 
§ 1389 (A.D. 1467) which registers an agreement between the treasury of Tirumali- 
sai Alvar shrine and those of the main temple. 67 The former purchased from the 
latter two pieces of waste lands and brought them under cultivation. From this, we 
might infer that there was a separate body of treasurers to administer the funds 
and chanties of this shrine. Whether this was also the case with all other smaller 
shrines, we do not know. 


By far the most important class of officers of the temple were the stanattars who 
are variously called the tdnattdrs and the stalattars. The earliest reference to them 
in our temple records occurs in two inscriptions, one of them belonging to A.D. 1234, 
and another datable to A.D. 1236. 6S Unfortunately, we do not get much information 
regarding the composition of this group, the mode of appointment etc. But, as 
mentioned earlier, they were probably the prototypes or the lineal descendants of 
the variapperumakkal of the earlier times and as such, included among themselves the 
select and the best qualified elderly people of the locality. 

Dr. Venkataramanayya calls the stanattars as the Board of Trustees and equates^ 
them with the Stanikas mentioned in the Telugu work Amuktamalyada (of Krishna- 

Functionaries and History of Management 121 

deva Raya) as having been in charge of the Vishnu temple at Srivilliputtur. 69 He 
says that during the Vijayanagar times, the stanattars were mostly set up by the 
government and by private donors or local people. But in the case of our temple, 
there is no evidence of the stanattars having been appointed by the Government. On 
the other hand, viewed from the context of the stalattars mentioned in the records of 
the 18th century, it appears that they were selected by the local people, though the 
mode of appointment remains obscure. 

Almost all transactions of the temple like the receiving of the gifts from the chiefs, 
kings or private persons or institution of special offerings or services, were done only 
on the approval of the stanattars. On behalf of the temple, they agreed to fulfil the 
purposes of an endowment. 

In the records of the 17th and 18th centuries, the stanattars are referred to as 
the stalattars . 70 They continued to wield decisive powers not only in the 
administration of the temple but on allied matters also like the procedures 
of festivals, conferring of honours etc. The honours of ‘"first tirtham and 
arulappadu” were conferred by them on select and deserving people of the locality. 
Thus in A.D. 1687, the stalattars conferred such rights of receiving the first tirtham 
and arulappadu on one Govindacharya, son of Prativati Bhayankaram Rangacharya. 71 
Again in A.D. 1714, they conferred honours on one Konappachariar to be enjoyed 
hereditarily. 72 

Thus, from the inscriptions as well as later temple records, it is seen that the 
stalattars of the temple were a powerful body of temple-trustees who were the sup- 
reme authorities in the temple administration. 

Royal control over the temple 

The presence of the king's representative in such a big town as Kahchipuram both 
in the later Chola and the Vijayanagar times, possibly acted as a check over the 
trustees. But it is well known that even in mediaeval times, the Government did not 
interfere with the internal affairs of a temple. The general policy of the Hindu 
monarchs to the religious institutions was one of non-interference. They protected 
and maintained the institutions by their liberal grants and did not undertake the 
actual management of them or interference in their internal administration, which 
was largely left to their own controlling bodies. But there was a general supervision 
by the local officers of the king, who were responsible for maintaining law and order 
in the land. If the king or his officer did interfere, it Was rarely and in order to 
correct some local error or irregularity or to arbitrate in a dispute and this was never 
taken amiss. The temple-lands and properties were subject to the usual taxation 
and other regulations, unless explicitly exempted. 

On the whole, the royal control was much less in the Chola times when the 
temple establishment was not so large and its income limited. But with the increase 
in its properties, landed interests and the enlargement of the temple’s role in the 
social and economic spheres, the royal control tended to become greater. Some 
indications to this effect are available in post-Chdla and Vijayanagar records of our 
temple. An inscription of the 1 3th century records an order of the local king 
Rajanarayan SambQvaraya to the stalattars of the temple that they should follow 
certain routes and stop at certain groves during the processions of the festivals. 73 

122 Sri VaradarSjaswumi Temple— KMchi 

Similarly, in A.D. 1517 Krisiinadeva Rava, the Vijayanagar king, fixed the routes of 
procession for the car festivals of Lord Varadaraja and Ekamresvara. This he did 
in the presence of the stalattars and Jiyars of the Vishnu temple and the stalattars 
and the Mahesvaras of the Siva temple. 74 

Thus, except for such rare instances which called for the royal regulation, there 
is no reference to any unhappy or hostile relationship. Kings, viceroys and officials 
were given due honour and they are often mentioned in the temple inscriptions with 
all their titles. Special offerings were made in honour and for the merit of the kings 
and their officers. Whenever the local royal agent misbehaved, the temple-authorities 
appealed to the king. Thus, in A.D. 1529 during the time of Achyutaraya, when 
Vlra Narasimha or Sellappa showed partiality for the Siva Ekamresvara temple and 
allotted a greater share to it and gave less than the stipulated amount of land to 
Varadaraja temple, the stalattars brought this injustice to the notice of the king. 
The latter, during his visit to Kanchi, redistributed the lands equally between the 
two temples and ordered the documents to be re-written. 75 

The royal control over the temples was greater during the Vijayanagar times 
especially under Venkata. The appointment of a Sri-karya- Curantara, a manager- 
general of all Vishnu temples around Kanchi by Venkata-II, is an instance of the 
increasing royal control over the temples. From the koil-olugu account, it is seen 
that this appointment was resented by the local stalattar of the temple, because it was 
considered a sort of imposition. 

The relation between the temple and the government during the days of the 
English East India Company and later, will be considered at the end of this chapter. 
We will now advert to the rise of the office of Sri-kdryam or manager and its impact 
on the temple administration. 

The rise of the Sri-karyam 

The 16th century witnessed the rise of a new officer named Sri-karyam to a posi- 
tion of importance in the management of the temple. Either to honour men of 
outstanding abilities and services or as a check over the stalattar this post of the 
manager was created. The first person to hold the post in this temple was the 
redoubtable Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyangar. A record of Achyutaraya datable to 
A.D. 1538 clearly mentions him as the Sri-kdryam of the temple. 76 We know from 
other records that he was in charge of the feeding house Ramanuja-kuta attached to 
the temple. In addition to that he was also the manager of the temple. In this case, 
evidently in recognition of the services he and his predecessor had rendered to the 
cause of SrI-Vaishnavism, the stalattar themselves appointed him as the manager. 
They might have considered that his popularity and influence would attract greater 
royal favour and benefaction to the temple. 

The next person to hold the post of the Sri-kdryam was probably Alagiya-mana- 
vala-Jiyar. We have already seen that these Jiyars have successively held the post of 
the koyil-kelvi or the temple- superintendence. Now in addition to the old position, 
Alagiya-manavaJ a- Jiyar is called the Sri-karyam of the temple in a record of Sadasiva 
Raya datable to A.D. 1553. 77 In co-ordination with the stdnattar he received certain 
gifts made to the temple and signed the agreement with the owner on behalf of the 
temple (Arulalapperumdl kdyil stanattarum Sri-kdryam-seivdr Alagiya-manavdla- 

Functionaries and History of Management 123 

Jfyarum ). 78 It is worthy of note that there is not a single record in which the transac- 
tion is done exclusively in the name of Sri-kdryam . Alwa>s either the stdnattar or in 
some cases the Sri- Bhanddr attar are mentioned first. 79 On the contrary, there are 
quite a few records in which the latter two alone figure as signatories m the transac- 
tions. 80 From this, we can infer that the stdnattar were still the ultimate authorities 
and the Sri-kdryam was at best a co-ordinate or executive authority. 

Probably the post of Sri-kdryam continued to be in the hands of Alagiya-mana- 
vala-Jiyars till the advent of the famous Ettur Kumara Tatacharya. As already point- 
ed out, this Tatacharya family which was formerly in the city of the Vijayanagar and 
later migrated to Chandragin along with the shift in the capital arrived in Kahcbi 
roundabout A.D. 1574. 81 It was in that year we hear for the first time the Tatacha- 
rya figuring in the epigraph of our temple. Owing to the great influence he wielded 
with the Vijayanagar king Srlranga-I and his successor Venkata-II, he became the 
Manager-General or Sri-Kdrya-Durantara of many important Vishnu temples in, and 
around, Kanchi. But it should be clearly understood that each temple had its own 
manager or Sri-kdryam as before and the Tatacharya was only the manager- general, 
having overall supervision over them, probably on behalf of the king. He had no 
direct hand in the administration which continued to be m the hands of the stdnattar . 
A record of our temple dated A.D. 1588 specifically mentions the Tatacharya as one of 
the two managers— the other one was Sannidi Srlramayyangar. 82 From the koil-olugu 
account, we learn that his appointment was opposed by the stalattdr of our temple who 
belonged to the Tenkalai sect. But the Tatacharya carried with him the Vijayanagar 
royal order {olai) exhorting the stalattdr s to accept him. 83 Here, for the first time 
we get clear evidence of royal interference in the internal administration of the temple. 
But here too, it was marked by restraint and caution. The Tatacharya had only over- 
all supervision but no direct hand in the internal administration which was still largely 
in the hands of the stalattdr. The temple transactions were still registered in 
the names of the stalattdr or Sri- Bhanddr attar as before. 84 The Tatacharya 
effected his supervisory control through a number of agents, placed at different 
temples. His agents in our temple were one Visva-pundita and another Periatirumalai- 
nambi Chakkarayar 85 Similarly, he had his agents at Srlperumbudur. This again 
goes to prove only his indirect hand in the temple-administration. Nevertheless, it 
cannot be denied that the presence of such a strong and influential person as the 
manager-general acted as a check on the power of the stdnattar. The Tatacharya 
almost lived m royal splendour and could even, in one of his inscriptions, boast of 
performing eleven tulabharas along with his eleven wives l 86 Whether this could have 
been possible at a time when the Vijayanagar kingdom had already lost its glory as 
kings Srlranga-I and Venkata-II were ruling from Chandragin over a crippled territory 
threatened by hostile forces is indeed doubtful. But it would however be taken to 
show the general affluent position of the Tatacharya which enabled him to do many 
beneficial acts to the temple like the re-coating of the Punyakoti-vimana with gold, 
the construction of the vimana over the Tayar shrine, the presentation of many vahanas 
or vehicles. 

History of management in the post-Vijayanagar period 

With the death of Tatacharya’s patron Venkata-II in A.D. 1614 and the consequent 

124 Srf VaradarCi jaswdmt Temple — Kdilchi 

ci\ il war which coimiKed the kingdom, the Tatacharyas lost their position as royal 
preceptors. Our inscriptions are silent about their activities. Though Ettur Kumara 
Tatacharva's immediate successor figures in the epigraphs of Srlperumbudur and 
Tenneri, he is not mentioned in the inscriptions of this temple. 87 Here, the stalattdr , 
strong as they were, seem to have re-asserted their power. In 1645, when Vijayana- 
gar had ceased to be a power and the Golkonda army had marched into the Carnatic, 
the Tatacharya famih left Kanchi for Mysore where they became the royal preceptors 
of the Mysore kings. But here in Kanchi, one Darmayya of Kotrapalli, managed the 
affairs of the temple m those troublous times. In recognition of his services, the 
stalattdr of the temple conferred special honours and privileges on him in A.D. 
1659. 88 The stalattdr mentioned in the record are : Alagia-manavala-Battar Varaday- 
yangar, Annan Varadayyangar, Tiruvenkada Ayyangar, Satagopa-perumal-dasan and 
the temple accountant Nallatambi Danappa. The record clearly shows that the Ten- 
kalai stalattdr became once again a strong body. 

The next landmark in the history of the administration of this temple was the 
appointment of Raja Todarmal as the Sn-karyam or manager of the temple m 1710 by 
the stalattdr in recognition of his yeoman service to the temple during a critical time 
in its history. Todarmal re-conferred the right of managership on Attan Jlyar’s son 
(born before he became a Jiyar) as a hereditary title. 89 Thus, the managership of 
the temple was successively in the hands of this family for four generations and upto 
A.D. 1792. In that year there was no eligible successor in the family as the three 
heirs were still minors. One Mr. Rama Rao, a distant cousin of the female descen- 
dant, took up the managership. This was the time when the members of the Tatacha- 
rya family who came back from Mysore in 1711 (soon after the troublous period was 
over and the restoration of the images was accomplished at Kanchi by Raja Todarmal 
and Attan Jiyar) pushed forward their claims to hold the management. The Tenkalai 
stalattdr resisted it with equal force. As this was causing frequent breaches of peace, 
the then English Collector Mr. Balfour ordered Mr. Rama Rao not to perform the 
annual Vaikasi festival unless the two parties composed their differences. But stopping 
the annual festival was considered extraordinary and inauspicious and so Mr. Rama 
Rao refused to comply with the orders Mr. Balfour, without going into the merits 
of the dispute, took an extreme step of advising the Board of Revenue to wrest the 
management from the hands of Mr. Rama Rao and handed it over to a new person. 
Thus, the hereditary management of the temple by the Attan Jiyar family for more 
than 80 years (from 1711-1794) was broken. But the new incumbent held the post 
only for two years, from 1794-1796. Mr. Place, the immediate successor of Mr. 
Balfour, found him guilty of gross mismanagement and dismissed him. This led to 
the assumption of management by the Government of the East India Company directly 
in 1796 which continued till 1842. 90 

This was the time when the Court-of-Directors of the East India Company began 
to take a greater interest in the affairs of the religious institutions. The Board of 
Revenue which was established in 1789 and which was in charge of the organisation 
of collection of revenue also, managed the affairs relating to religious institutions. 
This was but natural as these institutions possessed properties yielding huge revenues. 
The Collectors were the agents in the districts and were not only in charge of the 
collection of revenue but also maintaining law and order, besides being magistrates. 

Functionaries and History of Management 125 

Thus, by assuming such executive and judicial responsibility, the Government con- 
solidated its hold. These increased responsibilities led to the framing of the 
Regulation VII of 1817 which gave legal clothing to the functions already assumed. 
It defined the functions and powers of the Board of Revenue, the Collectors of the 
Districts and the managerial staff or trustees of the temples. The day-to-day adminis- 
tration was done by the Board of trustees or stanattar, as before. But above it, were 
the Collectors who were responsible for due appropriation of endowments, for record- 
ing lost properties, for informing the Board of Revenue about the number of endow- 
ments and to arbitrate in the disputes. The Board of Revenue had an overall sup- 
reme voice in all matters listed above. Undoubtedly, this period of administration 
was on the whole beneficial to this temple and protected it from many abuses like 
alienation of temple-lands etc. The ceremonies and rituals were allowed to be done 
as per established customs and the Government did not interfere in the religious 

Butin 1841, the Court- of-Directors of the East India Company suddenly decided 
to sever all connections with the religious institutions and pursue a policy of disenga- 
gement. On 12th June 1841, they ordered “immediate withdrawal of all interference 
with the native temples and places of religious resort”. 91 Their object was to leave 
the management of these institutions to a Committee of the people of the locality, 
qualified to conduct the administration. Thus, all the leading temples like Tirupati, 
Srsrangam, Kanchi were handed over to the Mahants or Dbarmakarthas or Trustees 
or 'Committee of native gentlemen’ as the case may be. 

In respect of the Varadarajaswami temple, applications or petitions were received 
from both the Tenkalai and the Tatacharya families. Mr. Appa Rao, a lineal descen- 
dant of Attan Jlyar, was also an applicant. He had stated in his application that he 
should be permitted to resume the management of the temple enjoyed hereditarily by 
his family for the past 80 years. Mr. Kumara Tatacharya in his petition had stated 
that one of his ancestors, the famous Kotikanyadanam Tatacharya, was the royal 
preceptor of the Vijayanagar kings and that he had provided numerous benefactions 
to the temple and that therefore he should be appointed as the hereditary trustee. Mr. 
Arthur Freeze, the then Collector, after due enquiry and consideration, recommended 
that in the interests of the institution, it should be managed by a Committee of five 
persons, including two Tenkalais and a member of the Tatacharya family in order to 
safeguard the rights of various classes of persons who had established rights in the 
temple. The Collector’s recommendations were rejected. The application of Mr. 
Appa Rao, the descendant of Attan Jiyar. was also rejected. Thus, the application of 
Kumara Tatacharya alone found favour with the Board of Revenue. He was appoint- 
ed the trustee of Varadaraja temple in 1842. 

The Tatacharya family was in enjoyment of this right for nearly 100 years from 
1842 to 1941. As already stated, it was a period when the Government pursued a 
policy of non-interference in the religious matters and hence, the Tatacharya trustees 
enjoyed untrammelled powers. The Tenkalai Stalattars complained that the Tata- 
charya trustees took a strong partisan attitude and did their maximum to unsettle the 
established rights and practices of the Tenkalai service-holders and adhyapakas. What 
these acts were and the reactions and results flowing therefrom, need not be detailed 
here. The Tenkalais, who formed the rank and file of the service-holders, had to 

126 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple — KSHchi 

resort to the courts of law and vindicate every one of their rights. This was indeed 
the period most fertile for litigation. There was a general dissatisfaction over the 
administration even among a section of the trustees, who filed a suit for a scheme in 
the District Court, Chingleput. 92 Matters went to such a head that the trustees them- 
selves had to admit, in the suit, the necessity for a new scheme. This suit went upto 
the High Court. 93 In the meanwhile the Tenkalais also filed a suit. 94 According to the 
new scheme, the trusteeship was vested with the five Tatacharyas, one of whom was 
to be an executive trustee for a year by turn. Above this, was set up a Board of 
Supervision to supervise their work. Ihe Board was to consist of a Tenkalai and a 
Vadakalai representative and one other member of the Smartha or Madhva group. 

But this scheme of 1909 proved to be a failure in the actual working, particularly 
because of the non-representation of the Tenkalais and the stalattdr in the trusteeship. 
The Tenkalais challenged the hereditary character of the Tatacharya trusteeship. The 
High Court of Madras in a Bench decision struck down the hereditary character of 
trusteeship. 95 On the basis of this decision, the Second Scheme suit filed by the 
Tenkalais was decided in 1941 and the executive management of the temple was 
placed in the hands of a non-Sri- Vaishnav a to be appointed by the Hindu Religious 
Endowment Board. 96 Two members of the Tatachari family were designated as 
4 ‘Honorary Trustees”. 

It is under this scheme that the temple is now being administered by the Hindu 
Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Madras State through the 
Executive Officer who is a non-Vaishnava full-time paid employee of the Depart- 
ment. There is no doubt that the administration of the temple under this scheme 
is an improvement over the previous one. But the Executive Officer has to be vigilant 
and impartial in this temple, for any favour shown by him either to the Vadakalais 
or Tenkalais, would result in dispute. No innovation in the procedures is tolerated 
and no departures from the judicial decisions regarding the same would go unchal- 
lenged in a Court of Law. Thus, the work of the Executive Officer in this temple is 
delicate and difficult. 


1. S.I.I., II, 66. 17. 

2. Koil-olugu, ed. by V.N. Hari Rao. 18. 

3. S.I.T.I., I, 346; 451 of 1919; 584 of 1919. 19. 

4. 417 of 1919. 20. 

5. 493 and 481 of 1919. 21. 

6. S .I.T.I., L 387, 22. 

7. 443 of 1919. 23. 

8. S I, 370. 24. 

9. Ibid , 429. 25. 

10. S.I.T.I., I, No. 396, p. 381; 451 of 1919. 26. 

11. 42 of 1893. 27. 

12. S.I.T.I.,1, p. 383. 28. 

13. S.I.T.I., I, No. 353; No. 370 (p. 353). 29. 

14. 600 of 1919 (A.D. 1540). 

15. 557 of 1919. • 30. 

16. 585 of 1919, VedaparSyanam Srf-Vaishnavd- 31. 

lukku Dakshinai. 32. 

See Chapter IV 
654 of 1919. 

614 of 1919. 

535 of 1919. 

373 of 1919. 

37 of 1890, 

535 of 1919. 

572 of 1919. 

S.I.T.I., No. 359. 

See Chapter V. 

572 of 1919. 

585 of 1919. Also see 585 of 1919, 

557 of 1919, Vinnappam-S eyyum-Brahmaner 
kothu . 

583 and 373 of 1919. 

473 of 1919. 

421 of 1919. Also see S.I.T.I. I, p. 342. 

Functionaries and History of Management 127 

33. SXT.I„T, No. 372, p. 355 (A.D. 1521). 

34. S.I.T.I., I, p. 346. 

35. Tirumalai-olugu, op. cit., p. 58. 

36. S.I.T.I., I, p. 334, 374 and 584 of 1919. 

37. 373 of 1919 (A.D. 1540). 

38. Ibid . 

39. 380 of 1919 (A.D. 1572). 

40. 535 of 1919 (A.D. 1558). 

41. 373 of 1919 (A.D. 1540). 

42. 584 of 1919 (A.D. 1533). 

43. 535 of 1919. 

44. 380 of 1919. 

45. 535 of 1919 (A.D. 1558), 380 of 1919 (A.D. 

46. 561 of 1919; S.I.T.r., I, No. 369, p. 348. 

47. 535 of 1919 (A.D. 1558). 

48. 535 and 380 of 1919. 

49. 380 of 1919 (A.D. 1572). 

50. 430 of 1919. 

51. S.I I., IV, No. 54 (dated S 1454= A.D. 1532). 

52 459 of 1919. This refers to the making of 
two-tiered, gold-plated, brass-lamp. 

53 S I.T.I., I, No. 405, p. 392. 

54. Vide Chapter VII. 

55. 389 of 1919. 

56. K.A.N. Sastri, Studies in Chdla Adm„ p. 
102 . 

57. 554 of 1919. 

58. S.I.T.I., I, No. 394. 

59. K.K. Plliay, The Sucindram Temple , p. 

60. 389 and 554 of 1919. 

61. S.I.T.I., I, No. 357, 361. 

62. Ibid, No. 353, 358, 369. 

63. S.I.T.I., 1. No. 368. 

64. S.I.T.I., No. 376. 

65. Ibid, No. 389. 

66. Ibid, Nos. 390, 391, 392 etc. 

67. Arulalapperumal Sri Bhandarattdr IkkoiU 
Tirumalisai Alvar Bhandarattukku Silasasa- 
nam Pannikkoduttapadi , 658 of 1919. 

68. S.I.T.I., I, No. 349, Ibid, No. 345. 

69. Dr. M.V. Ramanayya, The Third Vijaya- 
nagar Dynasty , op. cit. , p. 331. 

70. 423 of 1919 (dated S 1609=A.D. 1687). 

71. Ibid. 

72. 425 of 1919. 

73. S.I.T.I., I, No. 345. 

74. Ibid, No. 384 

75. 584 of 1919. 

76. 579 of 1919. 

77. 495 of 1919. 

78. 526 of 1919 

79. S I.T.I., I, No. 368 

80. S.I.T.I., I, No. 342 and 358. 

81. 383 of 1919. 

82. 587 of 1919. 

83. V.N. Hari Rao : Kdil-olugu, op. cit , pp. 
183-385. The olugu says that with the same 
order the Tatacharya went to Srirangam and 
claimed certain special honours from the 
temple authorities who refused to comply 
with his requirements. The Nayak chieftain 
of Madurai who was in charge of the Sriran- 
gam by name Muthuvlrappa Nayaka inter- 
ceded on Tatacharya’s behalf but in vaint 
The Tenkalai Stalattar who were all-importan 
in the temple considered these unprecedented 
and contrary to the established practices and 
threatened to resort to self-immolation if 
they were forced to accept it. When the panic- 
stricken Nayak inlormed Tatacharya about 
it the latter said that the Tenkalai Stalattar 
at Kanchi also opposed him first but later he 
subdued them. He went back to Kanchi. 

84. SI.TL, I, No. 368. 

85. S.I.T I., I, No. 370. 

86. 363 of 1919; S.I.T.I., II, p. 1358. Also see. 
Fr. Heras, The Aravidu Dynasty , pp. 305-306. 
for some more accounts about Tatacharya. 

87. See Chapter IV for details. 

88. S.I.T.I., I, No. 388. 

89. See Chapter IV for details. 

90. The documents filed m the temple scheme 
suit— A. S. 212 of 1909 reported in MLJ-23, 
p. 134. 

91. Court of Directors’ Manifesto dated 12th 
June 1841. 

92. O.S. No. 11 of 1907. 

93. A.S. 212 of 1909. 

94. O.S. No. 27 of 1908. 

95. CR.P. No. 1355 of 1940. 

96. A.S. 175 of 1934 (High Court, Madras). 



Attiyur is a neatly laid out village nucleating around Sri Varadarajaswami 
temple. Though in later years, many portions on its west, including the areas 
around the Vishnu temples of Tiruvehka and Ashtabhujaswami, were added to make 
it the present bigger unit, named Vishnu-Kanchi, the original settlement probably 
was confined to the four streets around the Varadarajaswami temple, besides a few 
more clusters of houses on the eastern and western outskirts of the village. It is 
indeed a noteworthy feature in Kanchi city even today, that all major temples are 
immediately surrounded by streets, invariably occupied by the Brahmins. Thus, 
while the Saiva Brahmins live in the immediate neighbourhood of Ekamresvarar and 
Kamakshi temples, Sri-Vaishnava settlements are to be found around Tiruvehka, 
Ashtabhujam and the Varadarajaswami temples. Communal settlements were 
indeed the order of the day in the ancient and mediaeval times; only in the recent 
decades some changes have occurred towards a free mixing of the communities in 
the residential quarters. 

Attiyur, however, was not exclusively a Brahmin village any more than 
Vishnu-Kanchi is today. The Brahmin villages were usually known as the Brahma- 
deyas or Chaturvedimangalams . A Brahmadeya in mediaeval South India referred to 
the village where the rights of cultivation as well as supervision and control of lands 
were bestowed on the Brahmin beneficiaries by the donor who wished the donees to 
lead a religious life, performing the rites and ceremonies of the temple. Attiyhr is 
nowhere mentioned as a Brahmadeya. Though the Sri-Vaishnava Brahmins formed a 
sizable bulk of the population, there were people belonging to the other communities 
who had landed property and who also had a lively interest in the temple. From the 
inscriptions of the temple it is gathered that many of the non-Brahmin residents too 
rendered numerous services m the temple. The Vella] a residents looked after the 
temple lands and cultivation; the Vaisyas who were engaged in trade, small and big, 
have made enormous endowments for the offerings in the temple; the Dasa-nambis 
were in charge of the flower-gardens of the temple; the manradis or the shepherd-class 
maintained the cattle donated to the temple and supplied ghee, butter, curd etc., to 
the temple. Besides these, there were many professional and artisan classes like the 
stone-masons, carpenters, metal-workers, umbrella-makers, pipers, musicians, dancers 
who lived at Attiyur and served in the temple. In fact, from the inscriptions of the 
temple we get a representative cross-section of the general population of the village. 

Sri-Vaishnava residents 

It is needless to say that the day-to-day life of the Sri-Vaishnava Brahmin was 
intimately associated with the temple. Especially after the impact of teachings of 

130 Sri Varadard jaswdmi Temple— Kaiichi 

Ramanuja, the importance of the temple and service to the deity housed therein, 
assumed new dimensions. The emphasis that he and the achdryas who followed him, 
laid on the archa-foxm or idol-manifestation and the value of kainkarya (bodily-service) 
to God in the temple, every Srx-Vaishnava deemed it his duty and honour to do one 
kind of service or the other to the temple. As already shown in a previous chapter, 
the SrI-Vaishnava Brahmins were engaged as priests in various shrines of the temple, 
in reciting the sacred hymns in front of the deity, some in assisting the priests, some 
in bringing water for the oblutions, some in cooking the food for consecration. In 
short, at least one male adult of every Sri-Vaishnava house did some service in the 
temple. This was so in many villages of Tamilnad until recent times, when the 
other avenues of employment and the urbanisation had opened up new vistas. Even 
now many Sri-Vaishnava Brahmins who had to leave Kaiichi seeking employ- 
ment in other cities, make it a point to be present m Kanchi during the annual and 
other important festivals and take pleasure in rendering some voluntary service to 
the temple. The importance given to the conception of personal God imparts a 
spirit of local patriotism and Lord Varadaraja, for a Sri-Vaishnava resident of 
Kanchi, is unsurpassable in beauty and compassion. 

The Sri-Vaishnava community is composed of two sects - the Tenkalai and the 
Vadakalai. The former are greater in number and are to be found in the north, 
south and the east -mdda streets around the temple. Leaders of the Tenkalai sect 
like Alagia-Manavala Jiyar and Prativati Bhayankaram Annangaracharya, have their 
residence here. The majority of the Vadakalai residents are found in the Western 
Sannidhi street, the Anaikatti street and a few on the south mdda street (vide Map II). 
The members of the Tatacharya family, the leaders of the Vadakalai community have 
their residence in the Western Sannidhi street, though many Tenkalai families like 
the Kandadai, Anantampillai etc., are also living here side by side. From the 
inscriptions we know that the famous Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyan had his residence 
as well as his Rdmanuja-kuta in this street. The V anamamalai-m # //z# belonging to the 
Tenkalais is also situated here. 

As already pointed out, in the earlier days, when the doctrinal differences between 
the two schools were confined only to the academic level, there were no social 
restrictions between the two communities. But in later years, when the difference 
pervaded to matters of social observances, daily domestic rituals, and other quasi- 
religious practices, the division widened, making it difficult for the families of the 
two groups to come together into intimate social relations. 1 Even inter-marriage 
among them is somewhat rare. Perhaps, nowhere else in the Tamil country, with 
the exception of Srirangam and Kumbakonam, the Sri-Vaishnava Brahmins are so 
sect-conscious as they are at Kanchi. This place which was the centre of culture and 
learning has in the past two centuries become one of the worst battle-grounds of 
sectarian disputes centring round Sri Varadarajaswami temple and the scramble for 
control thereof. Very often, the annual festivals were marred by unseemly clashes, 
inviting strict police control and vigilance. In 1879 Crole, the author of the Chingle- 
put District Gazetteer wrote : 

‘‘Their (the Vadakala i -Tenkalai) disputes are even now carried on with much rancour and 

have frequently, in regard to the Varadaraja temple especially, occupied the attention of 

both the civil and criminal courts. The rival parties have, however, become chary of 

The Temple and Society 131 

putting themselves within the clutches of the Penal Code and their energies are now, as a 

general rule, expended in civil suits .” 2 

Even during these nearly 95 years since Crole wrote this, the position has not 
materially improved. The civil cases have increased enormously. But the first half 
of the present century was marked by the appearance of a series of firm court 
decisions, mostly in favour of the Tenkalai cause, which have somewhat quenched the 
sectarian rivalry. Moreover, the members of the younger generation in both the 
sects, on whom the impact of the ritualistic approach has considerably loosened, 
look at the problem more rationally and have no interest to display the sectarian 

Family groups among the Sri-Vaishnava Brahmins 

Among the Sri-Vaishnava Brahmins of both the sects there are many family groups 
at Kanchi. Some of the old and well-known families who are residing in the streets 
around Varadaraja temple are : the Prativati-Bhayankaram family, one of whom en- 
joys the tirtham rights m the temple; the Chakravartiar, evidently descendants of the 
famous Nallan Chakravarti, who resided at Kanchi during the time of Ramanuja; 
Kandadai family, descendants of Mudaliandan a close associate of Ramanuja; Tiru- 
malai Anantam Pillai family, descendants of Anantalvar, Ramanuja’s contemporary 
at Tirumalai; Vinjamur family, who are the descendants of Arulalapperumal Emberu- 
manar, a chief disciple of Ramanuja; Gomadattar family, one of whose members en- 
joys the tirtham rights in the temple. On the Vadakalai side are : the Tatacharya 
family, whose members are the descendants of Sri Sailapurnar or Tirumalai Nambi, 
Ramanuja’s uncle; Nadadur family, descendants of Nadadur Ammal etc. In short, 
representatives of many of the seventyfour acharya-purusha families are settled down 
here, as in other important Sri-Vaishnava centres like Srirangam and Tirumalai. 
While they did great service in the propagation of the ideals of SrI-Vaishnavism and a 
large number of disciples among the lower classes, a certain amount of competition 
for royal patronage, temple-rights ensued. Moreover, the conception of the acharya- 
purusha cultivated in course of time, narrow loyalties, each member giving pride of 
place and importance to his own family preceptor— all these worked to the detriment 
of the solidarity of the Sri-Vaishnava fold with certain obvious repercussion on social 

Endowments to the Brahmins 

Brahmins were respected for their learning and religious life. Numerous were the 
endowments made in their honour and maintenance. During the time of Kulot- 
tunga-I, a tax-free gift of land was made to a matha inside the temple for feeding 
the Brahmins well-versed in the sacred lore. 3 A Chola record of later date registers 
a grant of 17f veils of land to 58 Sri-Vaishnava Brahmins for reciting the sacred 
Tamil hymns. 4 Similar gifts to Brahmins are recorded in the reigns of Kulottunga-II, 
Rajaraja-III and subsequent times. 

Sattada Sri-Vaishnavas and Other Classes 

There were a number of non-Brahmin Sri-Vaishnava inhabitants at Attiyur as in 
other Vaishnava centres like Srirangam and Sriperumbudur. They are commonly re- 

132 Sri VaradarSjaswSmi Temple— Kafichi 

ferred to as Sattada Sri-Vaishnavas both in inscriptions and literature. They were 
called so because they did not wear the sacred thread ( yajnopavita ), while the Brah- 
mins who wore it were called Sattina-SrT- Vaishnavas. But often they were denoted 
by the common name Koil-Sn- Vaishnavas. One of the major reforms made by Rama- 
nuja was that within the framework of the Hindu Varnasrama-dharma or caste-code, 
he liberalised the tenets and made them more acceptable to the common folk. The 
famous episodes in Ramanuja’s life, like his voluntary acceptance of discipleship 
under the non-Brahmin teacher Tirukkachi-nambi, his close companionship with 
Piljai Urangavilli dasar, his propagation of the closely-guarded sacred mulamantra 
from the top of the temple-tower to all castes at Tirukkottiyur were certainly revolu- 
tionary for his times and did much to popularise his creed among the lowly. He gave 
the latter a definite place in the Sri-Vaishnava fold by encouraging them to wear the 
urdhva-pundra , to dress themselves like the Brahmin Sri-Vaishnava (with panchakacha 
lower garments etc.), and to recite and study the Tamil prahhandams of the Alvars. He 
gave them important duties in the Srirangam temple, which are followed to this day. 
He even went to the extent of admitting the pahchamas or the outcastes into 
the Vishnu temple at Melkote — a remarkably bold act for his age. The steps under- 
taken by him to uplift the lower castes succeeded to a large extent in the strictly re- 
ligious sphere but failed in the social sphere, for the steel frame of the caste system 
re-asserted itself. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that the most distinguishing 
feature of Sri-Vaishnavism was its catholicity and democratic basis. Particularly, 
the acharyas of the Tenkalai school like Pillai Lokacharya championed the cause of 
the Tamil language and the Tamil sacred hymns and asserted again and again that 
for the true prapanna , caste restrictions did not matter. It can almost be said that the 
Tenkalai represented the anti-caste tendencies while the Vadakalai school championed 
the cause of purity of the VSdic tenets. In fact, even the many episodes, cited 
above, depicting Ramanuja as a friend of the lower classes, are considered by the 
Vadakalai school to be the creations of the Tenkalai school. 5 The Vadakalai school 
was scrupulous in following even the form and the ritual aspects of religion. But the 
Tenkalais held that prapatti or surrender would render all this superfluous. Prapatti , 
according to them, can be done by all persons irrespective of caste, community or 
status. They were even ‘liberal enough to think the spiritual knowledge could be ob- 
tained through a teacher of the lower order, while the Vadakalais opposed such notion’. 6 

From the koil-olugu account, we know that at Srirangam, Ramanuja employed a 
number of the Sattada-Vaishnavas to do various services in the temple for which they 
were paid regular emoluments in kind and cash. In the inscriptions of our temple 
also there are a number of references to the share in the prasadam allotted to the 
Sattada-Sri-Vaishnavas. Later, during the time of Saluva Narasimha (15th century) 
Kandadai Ramanuja-ayyan, a Sattada-Sri-Vaishnava, wielded great influence over 
the rulers of the land and the authorities of the temples of Tirupati, Srirangam and 
Kafichi. He had numerous Sattada- Sri-Vaishnava disciples in all the centres and he 
was chiefly responsible for providing many facilities and privileges in the temples. 
At Tirupati and Srirangam, they undertook to supply incense, spices, perfumery for 
the daily bath of the deities and in consideration of these and similar services that 
they were granted a share of the consecrated food daily and on special occasions. They 
seem to have performed similar duties in our temple. 

The Temple and Society 133 


There seems to have been a sizable number of the Vaisyas who were mostly 
tradesmen. They are called the Settiars or nag ar attar in Tamilnad. There is a 
separate Chetti- street in Vishnu-Kaiichi. Reputed as principal merchants, they had 
business connection in different parts of South India. They had mercantile guilds of 
their own which traded with foreign countries also. Members of this community 
both from Kanchi and outside have lavished endowments for the various offerings to 
Alvars and Acharyas in the temple. Probably, they were responsible for constructing 
a separate temple for Tirukkachi-nambi who was a distinguished member of this 
community. In fact the earliest epigraph in this temple dated A.D. 1050 records a 
gift of an ear-ornament and sheep given by a lady-member of this community. Her 
name was Setti-Rajamanikkattar alias Vlranulambhadeviyar, daughter of one Ayyan- 
Settiar. 7 Another record dated 22nd year of Rajaraja III mentions the gift of 33 
cattle for a lamp by Purusha-mamkkasetti. 8 In A.D. 1532, one Konappa Settiar of 
Vannikha-gotra donated 100 pon to provide certain sacred offerings. 9 In A.D. 1535, 
one Narayana Settiar of Nedunkunra-gotra gave 530 gold coins to the temple and 
stipulated that the interest accruing from it was to be utilised for various 
festivals of Alvars and offerings to Lord Varadaraja when His processional image was 
stopped in front of Tirukkachi-nambi temple. He also provided for keeping a 
permanent lamp at the same temple. 10 

From the two epigraphs of the time of Gandagopala dated A.D. 1241, we learn 
that the oil-merchants, who also belong to a section of the Settiar-community, lived in 
a street named Mummudi Chola-per under u and another section of the merchants lived 
in the street named Kuraivaniapperunderu. 11 A record of 11th century A.D. found 
at Pandavaperumal temple at Kanchi registers a gift to the temple by a leading 
merchant named Peruvanian Devan Erinjodi alias Perarulala-dasan residing at the 
great street of Arumolidevan at Kanchi. The name Arulala-dasan indicates that he 
was a great devotee of Arulalaperumal. 12 


They were an important class of Sattada Sri-Vaishnavas. They looked after the 
gardens of the temple and were responsible for the supply of garlands and flowers to 
the temple regularly ( Tirunandavanam-eduthu-tirumalai-sattum ). 13 They were also 
called Pundankadasas or tata-nambis. A number of Chola epigraphs refer to them as 
Tirunandavanakkudi i.e., those attached to the gardens of the temple. 14 They had a 
respectable place in the temple and were known for their dedicated service. Often 
they were exempted from paying taxes for the lands under their cultivation. 15 From 
a Chola record of A.D. 1245 we learn that there was a head or a leader for this class 
and his name was Peria-Perumal-dasan. 16 Many of their personal names bear that 
they were after the presiding deity of our temple such as : — 

Devapperumal Tatan 17 
Uttaravedi Alagiyar 18 
Garuden-mel-Alagiyar 19 
Alagiya-Perumal Tatan. 20 

134 Sri VaradarQjas w&mi Temple — K Shchi 


The cowherds or the manradis formed an important section of the population 
whose services were essential. Even in the early Tamil literature, there are references 
to their settlements which were called the ayarpadi. In the inscriptions of mediaeval 
times their services to the temple are often mentioned. They had a long tradition of 
tending cattle and supplying milk, ghee, curd and other milk-products to the residents 
of the villages and towns. The families of the cowherds today have their quarters on 
the eastern and southern fringes of Vishnu-Kanchi. Some of the earlier as well as the 
later inscriptions of our temple refer to the numerous gifts of sheep, cows, buffaloes 
for the supply of curd and ghee to the temple. 21 Such gifts were entrusted to the 
cowherds referred to by their generic names — manradis or konars who received them 
and agreed to supply a certain quantity of ghee or milk to the temple for the daily 
abhisheka and oblutions. A record datable to A.D. 1242 clearly mentions that the 
shepherds who received the gift of 1 1 5 sheep on behalf of the temple agreed to the 
condition that ghee and curd should be brought by them daily to the temple kitchen, 
measured with the temple-measure and supplied to the temple. 22 Another record 
gives us an interesting list of the different categories of cattle gifted to the temple. 
The cowherds to whom the cattle were entrusted agreed to supply one ulakku of ghee 
and one ndli of curd every day as well as on certain special festival days “as long as 
the sun and moon last”. 23 

The intention of the donor m donating the different categories of the cattle was 
not merely to supply ghee or curd but also to foster and cultivate the cattle-popula- 
tion, which was necessary for the prosperity of the rural-economy. The temple, as 
the largest consumer of milk and ghee, encouraged the cattle-raising and dairy 
farming by having a large contingent of cowherds or manradis to protect the 

Some of the personal names of the cowherds found in the inscriptions are interest- 
ing. They show that they were followers of Vaishnavism. Generally, the cowherds 
were and continue to be Vaishnavas, as their favourite deity, Krishna, was himself a 
cowherd. The names are : 





V aram-taram-Perumal-kon 

Perarulalan-kon. 24 

While all the names have the unmistakable Vaishnava character, the last two are 
after the deity of our temple. 

One of the interesting records of our temple informs us about the privilege of 
free grazing allowed to the temple cows. We are told that the cows and sheep be- 
longing to this temple might freely graze on certain lands in a large number of villages 
in the Tondaimandalam whose names are enumerated and that no tax would be 
levied on them by the owner. 25 

Other than these Vellalas, Vaisyas, Manradis and the Dasa-nambis, there were at 
Attiyur people belonging to various artisan classes like goldsmiths, blacksmiths, car- 

The Temple and Society 135 

penters, stone-masons and sculptors about whom references were already made in the 
previous chapter. 


The position of women in the mediaeval South India was generally subordinate to 
that of men. Essentially concerned with the household duties, they were necessarily ex- 
cluded from taking any prominent part in other activities. Even the women of the 
Brahmin class, though they shared some of the religious duties of their husbands, 
were debarred from the Brahma-vidya or the Vedantic studies. They could not wear 
the sacred thread which alone initiated one into the vedic knowledge. The study of 
the epics, the purdnas and other texts was open to them, but not the Vedas. The 
Srf-Vaishnava women of the Tamil country have, however, evinced much interest in 
the study of the Divya-prabhandams of the Alvars and the commentaries thereon. 
Many ladies know the Tamil hymns by heart, even though they do not recite them 
along with the male reciters. The ladies usually stand in a separate group during the 
temple service. Generally in all the temples of South India, the consecrated water 
and food would be distributed to them only after they are done to the men. All these 
clearly indicate the secondary or subordinate place given to them, though they were 
considered the ornaments of the house. 

The inscriptions of this temple, however, give us the interesting information that 
ladies also took part in the chorus-singing in front of the deity. Thus, a record of the 
13th century registers a special endowment by the Telugu-Choda chieftain Gandago- 
pala for the maintenance of the female chorists ( Perumal mun padum pendugal Nimi - 
thathu ). 26 Another record datable to A.D. 1535 specifies a certain share in the holy 
food for the ladies who took part in the group-singing in front of the deity ( Tiruvola - 
kkam Sevitha pengal ). 27 But this practice is no longer observed now in the temple. 
The ladies are simply the spectators, while all the recital is done by men. 

There are also quite a few other services which the ladies seem to have been doing 
in the temple. Duties like cleaning the premises, drawing kolam or designs (in white 
rice-powder), cleaning of the cooked vessels, husking the paddy, cutting the vegetables 
and other sundry works are even today done by them, some of them voluntarily, and 
some for an honorarium. That the ladies had property of their own is known 
from a few gifts made by them to our temple. Thus, one of the handmaids ( again - 
badipendu) of the Telugu-Choda chieftain Gandagopala donated some cattle for a per- 
petual lamp to the temple. 28 

Female ascetics 

The life of the ascetic strongly appealed to the imagination of the Hindus and the 
ladies were no exception to this. Though Vaishnavism was, on the whole, moderate 
in its devotion to the ascetic ideal, we do get many instances of ladies renouncing their 
wealth and taking to the ascetic life. Such female Yaishnava mendicants were known 
as Korrts. They used to wear the basil garlands and other religious marks. There 
were a few such korri among Ramanuja’s disciples. In the 13th century, a lady by 
name Perarulalan-korri made a will that 100 kulj of land purchased by selling her 
jewels should go to the temple after her demise. 29 Another lady-mendicant by name 
Tiruvattiyur-ftor.n donated cattle for a lamp in the temple. 30 

136 Sri Varadarajasw&mi Temple— Kdfichi 


Like many leading temples of South India, the Varadarajaswami temple had this 
unique class of lady servants who were called the Devaradiyal and were dedicated 
to the temple service. They were also called the Devadasis. Their mam duties were 
to sing and dance in front of God at specified time daily and accompany the deity m 
procession. Their public appearances were usually associated with religious festivals 
and they were generally experts in music and dance. We do not know when they 
were first appointed m our temple; but they are met with for the first time in a record 
datable to A.D. 1558. It records a share in the prasadam for Thivadiydl , a corrupt 
form of the word Devaradiyal. 31 

Originally instituted with the pious intention of providing dance and music to the 
deities in the same way the kings were provided, this class of women later on became 
the symbols of cultured ease and pleasure. From the epigraphs of the Chola times, 
we know that they had a respectable place in the society and even rich people dedi- 
cated their daughters to the service of God. But in the Yijayanagar and subsequent 
times, deterioration seems to have set in in their moral standards which drew adverse 
remarks from many foreign visitors living m India. Emmanuel de Veiga, a Jesuit who 
witnessed a festival at Tiruvarur m the Tamil country, recorded that there were 30 
women dancers going before the deity and observed : “They may not marry but pros- 
titute themselves for the most part, all goodly and richly arrayed and carrying lamp 
burning”. 32 We do not know how far this characterisation is correct. Probably it is a 
superfluous generalisation; but there is no doubt that the Devadasi system as a whole 
came to be considered “an undesirable institution which has outlived its time”. 
Accordingly, it was abolished by an act of legislation in the beginning of the present 
century. Until this date, the Devadasis were in employment in our temple, enjoying 
landed property and steady remuneration in cash and kind. 

Temple as a patron of music and arts 

Whatever might have been the defects of the Devadasi- system, it cannot be gain- 
said that the Devadiyars were good exponens of dance and music who did much to 
preserve the traditional dance forms for generations. The temple was the greatest 
single agent which extended patronage to them and utilised their services during fes- 
tive occasions. 

There were also musicians in our temple who are referred to as the Vidwans or the 
artistes in an epigraph dated A.D. 1558. 33 Probably, during the festivals, they 
rendered classical songs in front of the deity. The Vidwans included the nadaswara - 
vidwans or pipers who are essential to the temple. Playing on the nadaswaram with 
its accompaniments is considered to be specially auspicious and so it is played in the 
temple during the early morning service and other services. The artistes considered 
it a privilege and honour to sing in front of the deity. 

Similarly, architecture, sculpture, painting, bronze- casting and other arts received 
encouragement in our temple. The presence of the numerous shrines, mandapas and 
the magnificent gopuras should have given to stone and stucco workers, stapatis and 
silpis ample scope for the exercise of their artistic talents and ingenuity. Today, the 
temple stands as a monument to the labour and the skill of the countless artisans and 

The Temple and Society 137 

aitists who have worked there for generations to enlarge and embellish their house 
of God. 

Temple as a centre of learning 

This temple was also a centre of learning and education. In it were situated a 
various times mathas or monasteries which served as seminaries and schools. Thus, 
in the time of Kulottunga-I, there was a matha named Arikesavan -matha situated on 
the bank of the sacred tank of the temple. 34 It was the place where the Brahmins 
versed in the sacred lore congregated for discussion and recital. It was presided over by 
one Mahamuni (the great sage) of Peria-koil. The inhabitants of the nearby village 
granted lands free of taxes for feeding the Brahmins who studied in the matha. 

Another interesting record datable to A.D. 1359 informs us about another monas- 
tery at Kanchi presided over by Yaishnavadasa alias Brahmatantra Svatantra. 35 The 
main aim of the matha was to propagate the tenets of Rdmdnuja-darsana to the 
Vaishnava laity. From the record we gather that this matha had a good collection of 
books evidently in the form of manuscripts made by Yaishnavadasa and other accesso- 
ries of a library. The accessories probably included racks, spare sets of cadjan leaves 
for copying work and other scribal apparatus (z van fedina postakankalum idukku 
vendum upakaranangalum ). 36 The pontiff of this matha , Brahmatantra Svatantra, was 
a profound scholar and disciple of Vedanta Desika and his son Naina Varadacharya 
and as such his matha should have been a great centre of philosophical and literare 

At about the same time, there was in the Varadarajaswami temple another matha 
named the Veda-matha which was presided over by a certain Yedandrasagara Sripda 
and which probably specialised in the teaching of the Vedas. This matha was proba- 
bly patronised by the Madhvas who were also Vaishnavas, but not followers of Rama- 
nuja. They were the followers of Madhvacharya, the founder of the Dvaita school. 
From subsequent records of the temple we learn, that several leaders of the Dvaita 
school like Vyasatxrtha and Satya Vijaya Tirtha had evinced interest in this temple. 
The former who is considered the second founder of this school was held in high 
respect by contemporary king Krishnadeva Raya. An epigraph of our temple 
datable to A.D. 1511 records that the Madhvaguru presented a village and the ser- 
pent-vehicle to the Varadaraja temple and instituted a festival in honour of king 
Krishnadeva Raya. 37 Another record dated § 1649 (A.D. 1726) mentions that 
another Madhvaguru of Uttaradimatka by name Satyavijaya Tirtha was honoured in 
the temple with certain privileges 38 

Another matha that was attached to the temple was the AJagiya-Manavala-JIyar 
matha. The Jiyars of this matha held important positions in this temple and they were 
outstanding scholars of the times. One of them is specially eulogised in a 16th century 
record as the ornament of Kanchi and well versed in the Sanskrit and Tamil lo r e 
( Ubhayaveddnta ). 39 The pontiffs of this matha were greatly honoured by the succes- 
sive kings of Mysore in the 17th and 18th centuries. This .is attested by several 
inscriptions. 40 The Alagiya-manavala-JIyar matha is still there at Kanchi and conti- 
nues to be a centre of religious and philosophical studies. 

138 Sri Varadar&jasw&mi Temple—Kaflcht 

Temple as an agent of poor-relief 

Feeding the poor and the deserving persons on the occasion of feasts and 
festivals, marriages and other ceremonies was considered an act of piety. The need 
for a rest-house for the tra\ellers and visitors from outside in a pilgrim centre like 
Kanchi is quite obvious. Even now such feeding ( Tartar adanai ) is done in private 
homes or through the agency of public institutions such as mathas like the Vanama- 
malai and Ahobila matha. But an important institution that admirably served as the 
rest-house with board and lodging facilities was the Ramanuja-kuta. In earlier days 
the temple itself served as the agency to carry on the charity on account of the 
sanctity attached to it. It was easy for arranging to distribute a portion of the offered 
food freely among the devotees and the desantaris (visitors from outside the place) and 
also the local people who took part in some service. 

But, towards the end of the 15th century A.D., thanks to the dynamic leadership 
of Sajuva Narasimha and Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyan, an important institution called 
Ramanuja-kuta was established in many important Srl-Vaishnava centres like Tirupati, 
Kanchi, Srlrangam, Sriperumbudur. At Tirumalai, it is explicitly stated that the 
Ramanuja-kuta was "situated in the Sannidhi Street and it was under the management 
of Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyangar. Here in Kanchi also, it was situated in the Sanni- 
dhi Street under the management of the same person, who, as we have seen earlier, 
was put in charge of such feeding houses all over South India by the Vijayanagar 

The keen interest evinced for patronising the Ramanuja-kuta by a number of 
devotees and the popularity gamed for it through Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyangar 
and his successors are evidenced by the provisions made by these devotees individually 
for the delivery of the donor’s share in each case of the offered food for the Ramanuja- 
kuta. In all cases of food-offerings made to the temple, Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyangar 
gave away his share to the Ramanuja-kuta. All these and the royal grants sustained 
this free feeding house which did a useful social service. The institution of the 
Ramanuja-kuta is found even today in many pilgrim centres like Triplicane, 
Sriperumbudur, Srivilliputtur, but strangely it is no longer functioning at Kanchi. 
The residents of the Sanmdhi-street in front of the Varadaraja temple are not able to 
even guess where the Ramanuja-kuta was situated ! 

We have so far seen the pivotal role played by this temple in the social and 
cultural life of the people of the locality. We will now review the activities of the 
temple in the economic sphere as well. 

The temple as a land-owner 

Agriculture was the basic industry on which the vast majority of the population 
depended for livelihood. The temple as the biggest land-owner filled a large place in 
the agricultural economy of the locality. Right from the Chola times, this temple 
had considerable landed property. Both royal benefaction and public patronage took 
the form of land-grants. The royal grants were of two kinds, one the Sarvamdnya , 
whereby the entire village with proprietory rights over lands was given to the 
temple and the second type specified that all taxes, payable by a village to the 

The Temple and Society 139 

Government, were to be collected and enjoyed by the temple. The former category 
was also called Devadanam or Tiruvidaiyattam. Epigraphs of this temple were replete 
with instances of gifts of both the types and it is needless to catalogue all of them. 
From one of the records we learn that the Tiruvidaiyattam lands of our temple were 
marked with stones bearing the Vishnu symbol of discus ( Ndngellaikalihtm tiruvdlj - 
kalnatti)} 1 A number of villages in the neighbourhood of Kanchi and elsewhere 
figure in the inscriptions as having been gifted to the temple. To cite only a few 
examples, Nilagangarayan, an officer under Kulottunga-III, gifted the village of 
Arpakkam to the temple to meet the expenses with the daily offerings in the temple. 
A part of the village belonging to the temple was designated as Peria-Perumal- 
Vilagam— the first name Periaperum a l referring to Lord Varadaraja. 42 Telugu-Choda 
chieftains like Madurantaka Pottapi Manmusiddha and Vijayagandagopala gave away 
a number of villages like Paiyanur, Mavandur, Vayalaiyarru and Puduchcheri. 43 
They also made tax-free gifts of lands. 44 Gifts of villages and lands greatly increased 
during the Vijayanagar times. Achyutaraya donated the revenues of 14 villages 
sometime in A.D. 1529 for a big special offering in the temple. 45 Subsequently, in 
the same reign, several villages like Uttirasolai in Damalkottam, Tirumukkudal (in 
Kalattur-kottam) were assigned to the temple. 46 Similarly, gifts of villages are 
recorded in the inscriptions of later kings like Sadasiva, Sriranga and Venkata. 47 In § 
1562 (A.D. 1640) four villages— Nedungal, Karumbakkam, Nambakkamand Surithil — 
were granted to the temple. 48 Even lands or villages in distant provinces like the 
Chola and Pandyan countries, Andhra, Orissa and Mysore areas were granted to the 
temple. 49 Thus, roundabout A.D. 1230 Somaladevi Mahadevi, the queen of the 
Kalmga (Orissa) king Anangabhlma-M, granted a village Udaiyakamam in the 
Antarudravishya m the Orissa region. 50 In A.D. 1724, the Mysore king Krishnaraja 
Odayar granted a village comprising of 12 hamlets in north Mysore region to the 
temple. 51 But unfortunately, no accurate record is available for the total landed 
property of the temple or total yield accruing to the temple, in the mediaeval times 
or later. However, from the inscriptions, some of which were cited above, it is seen 
that the landed property increased considerably during the Vijayanagar times. Today 
the temple has wet and dry lands to the extent of about 275 acres in 12 villages which 
are under lease cultivation. 

Gardens of the temple 

Very interesting information is available about a number of gardens that were 
gifted to this temple in answer to the constant need for flowers and fruits for the 
daily worship, as well as during festivals. 

Naralokavira, the renowned general of Kulottunga-I, laid out a flower-garden 
(Pushpavanam) in which all the varieties of flowers were collected and donated for 
Lord Varadaraja. 52 Another record datable to A.D. 1316, however, gives interesting 
information regarding the flower-garden donated by the Kakatiya king Prataparudra- 
deva. 53 He provided 240 mddai (gold coin) per year for the maintenance of a garden 
wherein the temple-garlands, fruits and vegetables for offerings should be grown. 
He constructed four lotus-tanks for the supply of water and appointed 20 gardeners 
for the maintenance of the garden. The names of the trees and plants grown in the 

140 Sri Varadar&jas wdm i Temple —K&ilchi 

garden were : 

Indian chrysanthamum (Javandhi) 

Oleander (alari) 

Large flowered jasmine (sadi) 

Chempak (Champaka) 


Pomegranate (Madulai) 


Lemon and orange. 

Cultivation of temple-lands 

How could the temple authorities manage the agricultural operations in the 
lands distributed in so many villages, far and near ? Obviously, they could not do all 
of them directly. Both direct cultivation of temple-lands by the agents of the temple 
and the system of leasing them to the tenants seem to have prevailed. In the former 
case, the supervision was done by certain local agents appointed by the temple 
who took every precaution during the cultivation and the harvest and saw to 
it that after paying all the wages and other dues to the farmers, the produce 
was brought to the temple. The procedure was that paddy or any other cultivated 
grain should be brought to the precincts of the temple and measured in the proper 
manner in the temple-measure. This procedure is stipulated in an epigraph dated A.D. 
1259. 54 The agents were either appointed by the temple or by the donors. An interest- 
ing record of the 1 3th century informs us that when lands in nine villages were donated 
by an individual to the temple, the provision to appoint supervisors or Kankanippar in 
each village to look after the cultivation on behalf of the temple for which they were 
paid a remuneration of one padakku of paddy per day was given. Another officer 
named Ardindu-nirppan was appointed to supervise the work of the Kankanippar s. 65 
In this type of direct cultivation the labourers or peasants were paid daily wages in 
cash or kind and the entire proceeds went to the temple. 

The system of lease also prevailed side by side. This would entitle the temple 
for the melvdram or owner’s share of the produce which was usually 3/4, while 1/4 
would belong to the tenant. This was the owner-cultivator ratio that obtained here 
even in A.D. 1535 as attested by a record of that date. 56 But the same record in- 
forms us that during a severe drought, the temple’s share was reduced to two thirds, 
instead of three fourths in the case of areca, coconut and mango cultivation. In the 
case of sesamum, green-gram and sugar-cane, the rates obtaining in the adjacent 
villages were adopted. In the case of betel, plantain and other quick-yielding crops 
reared side by side in the newly planted areca and coconut groves, the melvdram 
was fixed at the older rate of 3/4. This might show that the temple-authorities 
showed due consideration for the drought conditions and other difficulties of the ryots 
by giving adequate concessions. 

Reclamation of waste lands 

One of the greatest services rendered by the temples was in the field of reclamation 
of waste lands by bringing them under cultivation. For private individuals, it would 

The Temple and Society 141 

have been a formidable task but a wealthy institution like this temple, with its men 
and money, could easily do this. Thus, in about A.D. 1467, the two pieces of lands 
at Tepperumajnallur which remained uncultivated on account of their non-irrigable 
high level were purchased as Ulamkkani by the treasury of the Tirumajisai-llvar 
shrine in our temple and brought under cultivation and then leased for 200 panam of 
gold per year. 57 

Ulavukkdni was the system of lease by which the lessee was given a permanent 
lease and authorised to reclaim a waste-land and grow the crops either wet or dry. He 
could enjoy all the produce but only pay certain taxes in gold or grain. 58 This 
gave the necessary incentive to the cultivator to work hard and reclaim a waste 
piece of land. 

Irrigation facilities for temple lands and tanks 

Apart from the seasonal rains on which the cultivation mainly depended, irriga- 
tion by tanks, canals and wells was prevalent. Lands near the Palar or the Vega- 
vat i rivers received supply from the canals dug from them. Wells served a useful 
purpose. A record dated A D. 1487, informs us that a Vijayanagar chieftain Viru- 
paksha Dannayaka made arrangements for digging an irrigation channel m the tem- 
ple lands and planted groves all around them. 59 

In about 1723, a water-supply project was undertaken and completed. One Rayar 
Sitakonnirayar, a deputy of the Nawab of the Carnatic, Sadat-Ulla-Khan, dug an 
underground aqueduct from a large tank named Sarvatlrtham to the tank inside the 
Varadarajaswami temple. The former is at the north-western end of Kahchi town 
while the latter is at the southern end at a distance of about 3 miles. Provision 
was made to catch up the spring water percolating from the river-bed to feed many of 
the tanks with which Kahchipuram is dotted. Traces of this ruined aqueduct are still 
seen here and there. 60 Crole who served as the Collector of Chingleput District in 
mid- 19th century has paid a handsome tribute to the irrigation system of Vijayanagar 
days, traces of which he saw at many places. He says : 

“Many of them (irrigation works) now abandoned or in ruins, evinced the solicitude of 
those ancient monarchs for the extension of cultivation even in tracts not favoured by 
natural position or good soil. Almost every catchment basin, however small, still bears 
traces of having been bunded across and m many cases this was done in order to secure a 
few acres of stony ungenerous soil, to which all the fostering care of the British adminis- 
tration has failed to induce cultivation .” 61 


The land-units mentioned in our epigraphs are the kuli, kani, ma and veli. Hun- 
dred kulis of land went to make one ma and 20 of the latter went to make one veli 
which was the largest unit of measure. In other words, 2000 kulis went to make one 
veli. 62 The area fixed by each of them was not permanently or uniformly fixed but 
varied according to the length of the measuring rod used. The length of the rod (kol) 
used is known from such expressions like the sixteen-foot-rod (padinaradi-kol), twelve- 
foot-rod ( panniradi-kol ). The latter rod was used for reckoning the lands of this 
temple both in the Chela and the Vijayanagar days. The earliest mention of this 12- 

142 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple — KSHchi 

foot-rod in this temple occurs in an epigraph of Vikrama Chola dated A.D. 11 30. 63 
Subsequently, it is mentioned as the standard measuring rod of the temple. In A.D. 
1261, a new name occurs viz., Nadu-alakkum-koL u This need not be taken as a new 
type of measuring rod. The phrase simply means land-measuring rod and it is likely 
that it might refer to the already existing 12-foot-rod. In a 14th century record, the 
measuring rod was named Gcmdaragandan-koL Probably, this was current in nor- 
thern Tondaimandalam area, as attested by an inscription dated A.D. 1390 from Tiru- 
ppalaivanam and another at Tiruppalakkuli in Chingleput District. 65 It is very inte- 
resting to see that this rod is carved to its full length with its denominations on the 
wall of the abhisheka-mandapa of this temple. By the side of the rod, the label Ganda - 
rcigandan-kdl is carved. Perhaps this served as the correct standard length to be re- 
ferred to in case of any doubt or controversy. 

Scholars have pointed out that the absence of a common measuring rod for the 
whole empire, both Chola and Vijayanagar, was the cause of great difficulty felt by the 
Government in fixing a uniform rate of assessment on land. 66 Under the British rule 
certain common measures like the C cent’ the smallest unit and ‘acre’ the largest 
(measuring 100 cents) came to prevail. 

Land price 

We get a few scrappy information regarding the prices of land. In A.D. 1073, 
during the time of Kulottunga-I, a village-assembly sold 3 velis of land to our 
temple for 30 kdsus which was equivalent to the value of 30 port of gold. 67 Probab- 
ly, in circa A.D. 1254 the land-price went down considerably for it is reported that 
7J velis of land was purchased for only 25 pon , 68 


The grain-measures that were in vogue in the temple at various times 
were the kalam , 69 marakkal , 70 kuruni 11 and nalid 2. These were of course prevalent in 
other parts of Tamilnad as well, but there were often local variations. From a record 
from Thanjavur, we learn that 6 nalis made one kuruni . 

6 nalis = 1 kuruni 

15 kurunis — 1 kalam 

Another record stipulates 8 nalis for 1 kuruni and 7 nalis and 1 uri for one marakkal. 
The generally prevalent denominations and their ratio can be given here : 

2 dlakku 


1 ulakku 

2 ulakku 

5 = 

1 uri 

2 uri 


1 nali 

8 nali 


1 kuruni or marakkal 

2 kuruni 

1 padakku 

2 padakku 

1 tuni 

3 turn 


1 kalam. 

Probably, in order to avoid any confusion, the temple had its own standard measures. 
The marakkal and the nali used by this temple were named Arianavalldn-kdl and 
Arianavalldn-ndliP They were used both in the later Chola and the entire Vijaya- 
nagar period. 

The Temple and Society 143 

Another unit used for measuring the cooked food of the temple was Anddlan-kal 
called after the name of the presiding deity — Arulalan. 74 


The earliest unit of liquid-measure occurs in an epigraph dated A.D. 1 129. The 
measure mentioned was Tirundrdyanan , 75 The quantity it denoted is not known. 
Later on, the liquid-measure that was continuously in usage in the temple during the 
Chola period was Arumolinangai-ndli . 7e It was evidently called after the queen of 
Vira-Rajendra Choiadeva, whose name was Arumolinangai. The earliest epigraph in 
which this measure occurs in our temple is the 1 1th year of Kulottunga-III i.e., A.D. 
1081. 77 Another frequently occurring liquid measure in the late Choja and the 
Vijayanagar days was Ariawalldn-nali , which was evidently the standard measure used 
by the temple. From many of the records we gather that ghee or curd supplied to the 
temple was required to be measured by this standard. 


The inscriptions of this temple furnish us with interesting information regarding 
the coins that were current at various times. It is well-known that gold-coins were 
issued by many of the Chola kings. The madai or the pon was the standard gold 
coin of the realm and it was equal to one kalanju or 70 grains of gold. The kdsu 
was exactly half of this. The madurantakan-madai , perhaps first issued by Maduran- 
taka Uttama ChoJa, was current in the time of Kulottunga-I and it is said to have 
been equivalent to one kalanju of gold or 9\ mattu or two kdsus , 78 From the 
time of Kulottunga-I, many local issues made their appearance. Thus a gold coin 
named Bhujabala-vTran-madai is mentioned in a record of this temple 79 It was given 
as a gift to the temple by a chieftain from the Ganga-mandalam who had the title 
Bhujabala-viran. Unfortunately, nothing is known about the value or the gold- 
content of this issue, though we know that it was current in many parts of the 
present Chingleput District Still later, during the time of last kings, the Telugu- 
Choda chief Gandagopalan’s coin was current in Kanchi. It was known as Gan da- 
gopdlan-madai or pudu-madai. 80 In the Vijayanagar days, the coins which were 
current here were the panam and the vara ham. The latter was a gold coin of the 
average standard weight of 52.7 grams. 81 An half the varaha was called pratapa. The 
panam was 1/ 10 of the pratapa or 1/20 of the varaha. In our inscriptions [there are 
references both to the varaha and the panam . Thus, during the reign of Krishnadeva 
Raya, the annual income from 5 villages amounting to 1,500 vardhas was donated to 
the temple. 82 From another record of the same reign, we learn that panam was also a 
gold coin. 83 

The temple as a consumer 

As an institution requiring a variety of commodities and services for its day-to-day 
conduct as well as on special festive occasions, the temple was the biggest consumer 
of the locality. In the early stages, the requirements of the temple were probably few; 
some rice for offerings, flowers, sandal, milk, ghee and oil for lamp etc., were all that 
were required. The steady increase in the offerings, festivals, and rituals from about 
13th century A.D. resulted in the increase of the articles required by the temple 

144 Sri VaradarajaswSml Temple— Kahchi 

manifold. Perhaps in no other temple do we get such graphic details about the 
articles used by the temple and their various proportions for preparing different kinds 
of food-offerings as we do in the numerous Vijayanagar records of this temple. 84 
The items constantly required by the temple were : rice, gram, pulses, turmeric, 
pepper, mustard, jaggery, salt, areca-nuts, betel, camphor, kumkum, coconut, 
fruits, milk, ghee, butter, curd, oil, honey. Different items of vegetables are 
mentioned in a record dated S 1514 (A.D. 1592). 85 

Not only in the food-articles and the perfumery, but in other articles like cloth, 
wooden objects, jewels, gold, silver and brass, metal lamps, decorative articles and the 
like, the temple was and still continues to be the biggest consumer in the locality. 
In this way, the temple stimulated and encouraged local trade and industry. 

Thus, from the foregoing account it is seen that Varadarajaswami temple filled a 
large place in the social and economic life of the people of Attiyur and Kanchi. 
Thanks to the rich benefactions in the later Choi a and the Vijayanagar days the 
temple reached a point of affluence and glory from about the 13th century. It gave 
employment to numerous priests, servants of various categories, hymnists, musicians, 
dancing girls. It also patronised the learned and the cultured. In short, it is no 
exaggeration to say that the temple gathered round itself all that was best in arts of 
civilized existence. The temple played a leading and constructive role for the larger 
social and moral well-being of the people. 


1. For a full discussion on the socio-religious 
practices of the two sects of the Srl-Vaish- 
nava Brahmins, see K. Rangacharf : The 
Srl-Vaishnava Brahmanas (Madras, 1932). 

2. Crole, op. cit , p. 32. 

3. 635 of 1919, 

4. 557 of 1919. 

5. V. Rangacharya : 'Historical Evolution of 
Sri- Vaishnavism in South India*, op. cit., 
p. 176. 

6. T.V. Mahalingam : Administration and Social 
Life under the Vijayanagar, pp. 176 and 311. 

7. 519 of 1919. 

8. 368 of 1919. 

9. 472 of 1919. 

10. 583 of 1919. 

11. 607 and 609 of 1919. 

12. S.I.I.,pp. 140-143. 

13. 571 of 1919. 

14. 557, 642, 608 of 1919. 

15. 637 of 1919. 

16. 400, 557 of 1919. 

17. 566 of 1919. 

18. 618 of 1919. 

19. Ibid. 

20. 566 of 1919 

21. S.I.T.I., I, Nos. 367, 373, 383, 394, 395, 396, 
416 etc. 

22. Nal onrukku Tirumadaipalliyil Alakkum An - 
yanavallan naliyal Nei ulakkum , Tayir- 
amudu-naliyam (551 of 1919). 

23. S.I.T.I , I, 356. 

24. S I.T.I., I, 401, 412, 414, 598 and 400. 

25. 623 of 1919. 

26. S.I.T.I., I, 393. 

27. 535 of 1919. 

28. 570 of 1919. 

29. 431 of 1919. 

30. 388 of 1919. 

31. 535 of 1919. 

32. Quoted by T.V. Mahalingam * Administra- 
tion and Social Life under the Vijayanagar, 
p. 269. 

33. 535 of 1919. 

34. 635 of 1919. 

35. Ep. Ind. XXV, No. 34. Also see Chapter IV 

36. Ibid, p. 320. 

37. 370 of 1919. 

38. 377 of 1919. 

39. S.I.T.I., I, No. 432. 

40. Ep. Car. Ill, Sri. 100; S.I.T.I., I, 429. Also 
see Hayavadana Rao : History of Mysore, 
Vol. I, pp. 329-331; Vol. II, pp. 29-33. 

41. S.I.T.I., I, No. 355. 

42. 361 of 1919. 

43. 434and461of 1919. 

The Temple and Society 145 

44. 438 of 1917. 

45. S.I.T.I., 1, 357. 

46. Ibid, Nos. 406, 358; 575 of 1919. 

47. 443, 482, 507, 535, 592 of 1919; 588 and 380 
of 1919 and 502 of 1919. 

48. 443 of 1919. 

49. 427, 441 (Pandya); 457 (Mysore) of 1919. 

50. 444 of 1919. 

51. S.I.T.I., I, No. 429. 

52. 473 of 1919. 

53. Ep. Ind. VII, pp. 128-132. 

54. 428 of 1919. 

55. 441 of 1919. 

56. 655 of 1919; A.R.E. *920, para 48. 

57. 658 of 1919. 

58. 648 of 1919. 

59. S.I.T.I., I, 348. 

60. A R.E. 1920, p. 123. 

61. C.S. Crole, Chingleput District Manual , 
p. 209. 

62. This is in accordance with the ratio given 
in inscriptions of Thanjavur and Chingle- 
put areas (A. Appadurai, Economic Con- 
ditions of S. India , I, p. 405). 

63. 520 of 1919. 

64. 483 of 1919. 

65. 357 of 1928 and 212 of 1916. 

66. K.A.N. Sastri : Cholas , p. 528; T.V. 
Mahahngam : Administration and Social 
Life under the Vijayanagar , p. 47. 

67. 522 of 1919. 

68. 565 of 1919. 

69. S.I.I., III, No. 80 (A.D. 1129). 

70. S.I.T.I., I, No. 359. 

71. Ibid, No. 377. 

72. 560 of 1919. 

73. SI I., IV, No. 361. 

74. 507 of 1919, Arulalan-kalal-amudupadi . 

75. 436 of 1919. 

76. S.I.T.I., I, No. 349 and also No. 367. 

77. 554 of 1919. 

78. K.A.N. Sastri : A History of S . India (1958), 
p. 328. 

79. 48 of 1893; 453 and 360 of 1919. 

80. 428, 385 of 1919. 

81. Vijayanagar a Sexcentenary Volume (1935), 
p. 225. 

82. 474 of 1919. 

83. 512 of 1919. 

84. For instance refer S.I.T.I., I, No. 349. 

85. S.I.T.I., I, 368. 



General features 

This chapter is complementary to Chapter III wherein a fairly detailed des- 
cription of the various shrines, mandapas and other structures of this temple is given. 
The disposition of the shrines, as also their probable origin based mainly on the 
epigraphical and literary sources were indicated. Architectural features were briefly 
cited as corroborative evidence. In this chapter attention is focussed on structural 
details of the temple and its constituents. This temple is important for such a study 
because it preserves the different architectural and stylistic patterns that were in 
vogue at different epochs in the Tamil country. We are indeed fortunate to have a 
good number of structures in the temple which are specifically datable. They give 
us the prevailing norms of construction and style. They serve as landmarks in 
architectural evolution and provide us with the necessary data for comparison with 
architectural details of the undated structures and for fixing the date of the latter. 

We have already outlined four stages of development of this temple-complex 
(Chapter III). Leaving out the first stage for which there are no structural vestiges 
left, we find the next three stages that can be taken as representing three phases in 
the evolution of the style as well. The second stage which coincides with the times 
of the Choi a kings Rajadhiraja-I, Kulottunga-I was the most formative stage as far 
as this temple is concerned, for it witnessed a thorough reconstruction of a modest 
temple into a bigger complex. It started by about the middle of the 11th century 
A.D. Most probably, the present sanctum-complex over the ‘hill’ and the Narasimha 
shrine down below, were the earliest to be built, and this took place sometime 
during the reign of Rajadiraja-I. This is well attested by the presence of the latter’s 
inscription in the Narasimha shrine. Probably a little later, sometime before 
A.D. 1073 and during the reign of Kulottuga-I, was built the second enclosure-wall 
with its central gateway on the west. Slightly later, but during the reign of the 
same king, the third enclosure was also constructed with its central gateway. Thus, 
the reigns of Rajadhiraja-I and Kulottunga-I roughly occupying a period of a 
little more than 100 years from A.D. 1018-1120 witnessed the most remarkable 
structural improvement in the temple. The structures that rose up during this 
period are essentially rooted in the orthodox, well-developed Chola pattern with 
their plain spaces and simple designs. They can indeed be said to belong to the middle 
Choja phase as we see in them the continuation of the characteristics of the mature 
or the imperial Chola style, as exemplified in the temples of Brihadisvara at Than- 
javGr and Gangaikondachojapuram. 1 No doubt certain new features were intro- 
duced even during the reign of Kulottunga-I, but as far as this temple is concerned, we 

148 Sri Varadarajaswdml Temple— Kaftehi 

find the structures of these times retaining the middle Choja style in all their essen- 
tials. The structures are massive in proportions and austere in appearance. They have 
short and squattish pillars and pilasters made up of two sadurams or squares at the 
two ends and an octagonal middle. They have heavy corbels or podikal with bevelled 
end and angular profile, having tenon-like projection. The square and thick abacus 
(palagai) has also a plain doucene on its underside which was rarely scalloped. 
Entranc t-gopuras were always broad and squattish so as not to dwarf the stature 
of the central shrine. This principle was admirably kept up in our temple as the 
central sanctum situated on an elevated platform (hill) still dominates the entire 

The second stage in the growth of the temple coincides with the reigns of the 
later Chola kings beginning with Yikrama Chola-I. This would roughly, though 
not exactly, coincide with the period indicated by Dubrueil between 1100-1350 2 
Here we see some new traits or features in the pattern of the pillars, pilas- 
ters and corbels making their appearance which later on became well developed 
and attained full consummation during the Vijayanagar times. This traditional 
stage is well represented in this temple by many shrines like the Kariamanikaperumal 
shrine, Anantalvar shrine, Krishna shrine and the Abhisheka-mandapa. We see 
in them the presence of the earlier features as well as the emergence of new ones. 
Here, we see the pillar-corbels taking the form of a moulded campanulate 
pendant, tending to become floral and anticipating the incipient madalai of the 
pushpa-potika (lotus-bud), characteristic of the Vijayanagar style. The abacus (palagai) 
of the capital is not only thinner in contrast to the large and thick ones of the 
earlier Chola times but also becomes scalloped. Deep niches with sculptures and 
topped by a massive-Chola ornamental torana , common in the early and middle- 
Chola temples, seldom appear on the wall-portions of the shrines. Instead, only 
shallow niches without sculptures and with the constricted torana in low relief are 
found. All these peculiar traits in plan and the elevation of the shrines and the 
mandapas will be discussed in detail in the sequel. Figure 40 clearly indicates the 
changing stylistic features. 

In the succeeding Vijayanagar period, the temple witnessed greater constructional 
activity and some of the buildings are remarkable for the great size of their component 
structures — mandapas and gopuras . During this phase, increased importance was 
given to the growth of the temple precincts and the ancillary structures. There 
was considerable increase in the temple-rituals and festivals and, correspondingly 
new structures like the kalyana-mandapa, the tulabhara-mandapa , the unjal-mandapa 
and the vasanta-mandapa had to be built. The gopuram or towering gateway also 
came to occupy a more prominent position in this temple-scheme and became so 
imposing as to completely dwarf the main sanctum. The embellishments of the 
adhistana mouldings, pillars, ceilings, towers etc., became markedly rich and varied 
and the decorative treatment excelled all previous attempts. The shafts of the 
pillars and pilasters became more ornamental with the former. The lower part of 
the abacus or pali which was somewhat scalloped into petals in the early and late 
Chdla times assumed a more pronounced floral form with the petals or idol of the 
Padma s the corbel which was an incipient pendant evolved into the characteristic 
pushpa-potika, with a double-flexed arm extending from the main block and scallop- 

Architecture 149 

ed at the free-hanging extremity into the everted petals with a small bud or torus 
hanging at the centre. The pillared halls such as the kalyana-mandapa > the itnjaU 
mandapa and the vahaaa-mandapa in this temple which belong to this period are 
noted for their minute carvings and extravagant embellishment characteristic of the 
style. The intricately worked colonnade, often with attached small pillars or animal 
or human sculptures lend immense beauty to the structures. The other impor- 
tant Vijayanagar contributions to this temple are the tall and magnificent gdpura 
on the east with its massive elaborately moulded granite-built plinth, and the com- 
pact little shrines for the numerous Alvars and Achdryas which are neatly built along 
the periphery of the outermost prakara. 

As already pointed out, the first three prdkdras have in them many of the earliest 
structures of this temple. A discussion on the architectural significance of the so- 
called ‘hill’ which is in the form of a square enclosure is given at the end of this 
chapter. We will study the architecture of the other parts of this temple one by one. 

First prakara 

The complex of structures over the hill is interesting. On plan, it is composed of 
a square cella, an antarala , two long rectangular mandapas in the axial line. There is 
no epigraphical or literary data available to date this complex and thus we 
have only to depend on the architectural style of the structure. The mouldings 
on the wall-surface of the garbagriha give us admirable clues. The adhistana 
as we see it from inside is composed of a high jagati, a tripatta (three-faceted) 
kumuda, a recessed kanta and a plain pattika. Over the pattika is the vedi 
which comprises a recessed kantaAike fillet and an urdhvapadma course and topped 
by the prati. Below the jagali there must have been an upana moulding which 
is evidently buried in the inner floorings. The pilasters are plain and square in 
section. They have rather heavy corbels which are bevelled having a tenon-like 
projection, a typical feature of the Chola style. The pilasters on the two mukha* 
mandapas also display identical features thus, showing that they, together with the 
sanctum, form one compact group. The adhistana mouldings in this complex are 
of the simplest type, devoid of any ornamentation. This together with other features 
like the massive pilasters and heavy tenon-corbel etc., may give it an early date. It 
can be ascribed to the middle of the eleventh century A.D. (Fig. 40 — item A). 

Punyakoti-vimana (Fig. 4) 

There is a fine dvitala (two-storeyed) vimana of ayatasra (oblong) type with the 
sola or wagon-vault sikhara , over the garbagriha . Normally, the s ala- sikhara with a 
rectangular base can be built over a rectangular sanctum. But here unusually, the 
sikhara having a rectangular base has been superposed over a square sanctum. This 
is indeed a rarity and it has been made possible by resting the rectangular base 
of the sikhara not only on the sanctum walls proper but also beyond and over the 
walls of the second circuit around the sanctum, as can be seen from the accompany- 
ing plan. The vimana has completely been renovated and replastered in the thirties of 
the present century, thus obliterating all the old features. But we know from an 
epigraph that Krishnadeva Raya covered this Punyakoti-vimana with gold sometime 
in A.D. 1514. 3 

150 Sri VaradarQjaswclmi Temple— KMchi 

All around the harmya of the second storey, there runs a hdra or string of minia- 
ture shrines such as the karnakutas at the four corners and the bhadrasalas in the 
centre and panjaras in between forming the components over the prastara of the 
ground storey. The top of the second storey has four seated Garudas in anjali pose 
at the four corners besides some representations of Vishnu as Vimana-devatas, 
occupying the nasika projections of the rectangular grfva. The wagon- top or 
sdla-sikhara carries a row of seven metal stupis , over its ridge and its two ends are 
large nasika fronts. 

The eight-pillared mahamandapa in this complex also seems to be of the Chola 
times. The pillars have round cross-section and bear heavy bevelled corbels at the 

The pillared cloister ( pradakshina ) around the entire sanctum- complex is an 
addition of the Vijayanagar times, as already pointed out. The pillars which are 
rather tall (2 metres high) have the evolved pushpa-potikai corbels. 

Second prakara 

At the base of the hill with the second prakara, some details of the Narasimha 
shrine and the double-storeyed pillared cloister around deserve our attention. The 
small shrine of Narasimha is of the nirandhara type, having no circumambulatory 
around it. So only its frontal view is to be seen as in a cave-temple. The pilasters 
that flank its facade are noteworthy. They are short but massive and are compos- 
ed of two sadurams or square sections at the ends with an octagonal middle — a feature 
which is a survival of the Pallava and the early Cho]a style. They have very heavy 
bevelled corbels with prominent tenon-like projections. The earliest inscription in 
this shrine and indeed in this temple which is found on the inner sanctum wall is 
dated A.D. 1050/ and as it does not refer to the construction of this shrine, there 
is room to presume that the shrine might have been there even slightly earlier. 
Since Narasimha is a cave-dweller, this shrine has been conceived of in the form of a 
cave, cut, as it were, into the Hastigiri hill. But actually, it is only an improvised 
masonry cell with a low ceiling. 5 

The gopmz-entrance in front of the Narasimha shrine is a fine structure of the 
11th century A.D. The earliest epigraph is dated A.D. 1073 and belongs to the Chola 
king Kulottunga-I. 6 It is inscribed on the plinth ( adhistana ) portion of the gateway. 
The plinth of this entrance is quite high and carries a number of mouldings which, 
from the bottom upwards, are : the upana , the plain jagati, a prominent vritta- 
kumuda, the top of which has the lotus-petal decoration, a double kanta which is 
relieved at intervals by the rafter-end motifs and a frieze of animals, probably lions* 
Over it, is the wall portion which is relieved by a number of tall and plain pilasters 
(of square cross-section) having the bevelled corbels and tenon-like projections. The 
superstructure over this is of brick and mortar. It rises in three diminishing tiers 
to a height of about 35 ft. and is topped by a rectangular grfva surmounted by a 
wagon-top sikhara with large nasika-t nds on either side and a series of kalasas on 
top. The parapets of the storeys carry strings of kufas, salas and panjaras all around. 
There are no sculptures except on the grfva portions which has some stucco reliefs. 
They have been spoiled by later-day renovation. Though the exterior is renovated, 
the gdpura preserves the older contours and the style of the Choja gopuras which 

Architecture 151 

are usually broad and squattish and are invariably smaller than the ximana 
on the central shrine. 7 The mandapa in front of Andal shrine is a fine Vijayanagar 
structure (Fig. 5). 

Third prakata 

This gopura leads us out into the courtyard enclosed by third prakdra , wherein 
very important shrines are situated. They are : 

Kariamanikkaperumal shrine 

The simple and elegant shrine seems to have been built roundabout A.D. 1129 
and in many ways it typifies the prevailing norms or styles of the day. 

It has a square garbagriha , an antarala and a small mukha-mandapa. Its height 
is not more than 3 metres. There is no superstructure over the sanctum. Here we 
see the adhistana mouldings still retaining their simplicity with only a few additional 
lotus-petal ornamentations (Fig. 40, item B). The bottom-most fillets constitute the 
upana , over it on the vertical plane are the adhopadma mouldings, then a plain jagati 
which bears a number of Ch51a inscriptions, a tripatta-kumuda, a plain kanta with 
padma base, a projecting pattika and over it is the Vedi portion and finally the prati. 
The wall portion is adorned by a number of simple and shallow niches and beautiful 
pilasters. There are five niches, two each on the north and south and one on the 
back wall i.e., on the west. The niches are square and simple in design, unlike the 
later ones which are highly ornamental, as found in the Perundevi Tayar. 

The shafts of the pilasters are square in cross-section and carry a padma-banda 
neck moulding, kalasa, the tadi , the kumbha rather flattish, the idol or the petal 
moulding and the thin abacus or phaJaka . We see the two types of corbels employed 
here— the typical bevelled one for the corner pilasters and the incipient pumunai - 
corbel for the rest. This latter type of corbel indicates the slow and 
gradual transition to the next stage of evolution, with the central tenon 
assuming a campanulate floral form , the precursor of the pushpa-potika of the later 
period. The cornice carries a number of kudus on its face. Over the cornice is a 
short parapet carrying the vyalavari frieze which becomes a recurring motif for the 
structures of this period. The pillar design of mukha-mandapa is interesting. It is 
composed of three sadurams (square) and two octagonal intervening portions. They 
have the typical Chola corbels. 


The abhisheka-mandapa is large square and closed pavilion built in the early part 
of the 13th century A.D. It preserves its late Chola characteristics intact. The 
adhistana or the basement is built in bold proportion having a number of mouldings 
like the plain and flat upana , the adhopadma moulding, the jagati, vritta-kumuda , a 
simple recessed kanta with lotus petal moulding flanking the upper and the lower 
sides and a straight projecting pattika on which are seen a number of inscriptions. 
The vritta-kumuda , though boldly depicted, is much more stylised than the one 
found in earlier structures, such as the gopura basement in front of the Narasimha 
shrine, described above. Again, over the pattika is a frieze of petal-moulding which 
serves, as it were, the base for the wall portion of the shrine. The exterior of the 

152~_Sri Varadar &jas w&mi Temple — K&hchi 

wall shows reliefs of pilasters which display the late-Chola features like the padma - 
banda neck moulding over the shaft ( kal ). The shaping of the vase-like kalasa is 
also -noteworthy. The lower doucene of the abacus or the palagai is scalloped into 
petals or idol— another late feature. Here also two types of corbels are employed 
— the bevelled type for the corner pilasters and the incipient pumunai for the rest. 
The cornice tends to become heavy and is curved in two to form a double-flexure 
that is typical of the Vijayanagar kapotas. There is only one niche on the eastern 
wall of this closed mandapa. In it is placed a large image of Garuda, facing 
the main shrine on the east. 

On the western side of this mandapa , a later annexe was added as a facade in the 
Vijayanagar times. There are two elegant balustraded steps leading to this mandapa . 
This was built in the 16th century A.D. 

Anantalvar shrine (Fig. 6) 

This is another modest and well-dated shrine. It was built in A.D. 1212. It 
has a square sanctum, an antarala and a small four-pillared mukha- mandapa . The 
entire shrine stands on a padma-pifha or expanded lotus-basement and over it is the 
adhistana which is composed of low updna, a jagati , a vritta kumuda , a recessed 
flat kanta and a flat and straight pattika (Fig. 40, item c). Over it, is the wall 
portion which is recessed and relieved by niches and pilasters. The niches are short 
but embellished with a canopy of the sala type with a central kudu arch. Here also 
the niches are quite simple in design, unlike those of the Vijayanagar times, found 
in the Tayar shrine. The shafts of the pilasters are square in cross-section and have 
the padma-banda neck moulding. The abacus is neither thick nor broad but has the 
scalloped lotus on its underside. The corbel does not have the tenon-like projec- 
tion but has an incipient pumunai curvature, characteristic of the transitional period. 
Over it is the curved kapota and then a vyalavart or frieze of leonine griffins over the 
prastara . The shrine has a dvitala vimana which is square upto the second tala. 
Over it is circular grim which is topped by a circular domical sikhara . There are 

four prominent nasikas with kirtimukha finial. On the four corners of pindi 
terrace below the griva are seated four Garudas, alternating with Vishnu as vimana - 
devata. The Hayagriva form of Vishnu is seated on the southern side and the Nri- 
simha form on the northern side. 


The thousand-pilIared~wtfwJ< 2 />a on the north-eastern corner of this prdkdra is 
also a contribution of the beginning of the 14th century A.D. and hence, we see many 
of the features of the transitional period. The plinth is embellished with many 
ornamental mouldings, particularly a double vyalavari frieze; the pillars are rather 
tall and slender; the corbels have a distinct pumunai corbel, and there is a well-bent 
kodungai forming the cornice. The pillars have not yet assumed the extravagant 
ornamentation of the Vijayanagar times. 


The kitchen on the south-east corner of the prdkdra is an older structure cons- 
tructed during the time of Kulottunga-I, It is a closed room with a mukha-maridapa 

Architecture 153 

at its entrance. The pillars are square with three sadurams (square portions) and 
two hexagonal or fluted intervening portions. The pillar capital bears pronounced 
chamfered corbels. The cornice is thick and straight. 

Perundevi Tayar shrine (Fig. 7) 

It has already been noticed that the shrine for Perundevi Tayar came into 
existence probably in the beginning of the 13th century. Its presence is mentioned 
in an epigraph dated A.D. 1236. 8 But the shrine proper, in its present form, is a 
construction of the Vijayanagar times, though the high pediment on which its enclo- 
sure wall is constructed is an older structure, belonging to the 13th century. Ob- 
viously, this portion underwent elaboration during the Vijayanagar times. The earlier 
shrine was replaced by the present elegant shrine together with its other forward 
complements like the cloistered verandah, sometime around about A.D. 1487 as 
already shown. 9 

The sanctum antarala complex of the Ta^ar shrine is one of the best illustrations 
of the ornate architecture of the Vijayanagar epoch. It closely resembles the 
Amman shrine in the Hazara Rama temple at Hampi. 10 From the base to the 
cornice, the entire surface is embellished with rich ornamental details, bold in design 
and exuberant in expression. The niche projection and the corresponding recesses 
which start right from the basement level break the monotony of the plan while the 
deep plinth-mouldings produce sharp effect of light and shade. 

The adhopadma moulding over the upana is very pronounced. The jagati is 
plain except for the Vijayanagar inscriptions over it. The vritta-kumuda is very 
much constricted and ribbed, while the pattika is quite prominent. There are al- 
together five niches— two on the sides and one on the rear wall, all projecting out from 
the ground level, thus breaking the straight line of the plan. The niches are highly 
ornate with an ornamental kapota canopy which are in turn surmounted by nasika 
fronts. The niches are flanked on either side by richly decorated kumbha-panjaras 
placed in the recesses of the wall. They are pilasters having purna-kumbhas or full 
vases of plenty as their bases with excrescent foliage with emergent pillar shaft 
carrying a nasika top. The other pilasters have faceted shafts and the nagapadam 
decoration at the base. The phalaka is thin and has its lower part prominently 
scalloped into petals. The pushpa-potika corbel at the top is very pronounced. 
The cornice ( kodungu ) is also embellished with a string of kudu arches, extending for- 
ward considerably. 

The vimfina over the sanctum is named the Kalyanakoti vimana, built in the 17th 
century. It is fully covered with copper sheet and hence its architectural features 
are masked. 


The pillared maha-mandapa in front of the Tayar shrine seems to have been built 
in the 16th century by Alagia Manavala Jlyar. It has typical Vijayanagar ornamen- 
tal columns with rearing horsemen attached to their shafts. In some pillars rearing 
yyalas are also attached. 

There are four more mandapas of the Vijayanagar times in the forecourts of 
this prakara. They are : the kili-mandapa, the uhjabmandapa and two other pillared 

154 Sri VaradarBjaswami Temple— Kufchi 

halls, one In front of the abhishekci-mandapa and the other interposed between the 
latter and the Tayar shrine entrance. All of them bear unmistakable Vijayanagar 
characteristic like the tall fluted pillars with a prominent pushpa-potika corbel and a 
protruding kodungii , with double flexure. Moreover as already seen the Vijayanagar 
royal emblem is carved boldly in almost all these mandapas. There are some 
interesting bas-relief sculptures which will be noticed later The iinjal-mandapa in 
particular is an exquisite specimen of Vijayanagar art. Built on high plinth in an 
open courtyard, it is supported by elaborately worked composite pillars with 
clusters of smaller pillars, inter-connected, as it were, by some feligree work. The 
capitals over them are multi-faceted and massive. The kodungu or the cornice is very 
conspicuous with its double flexure; on the eastern face of it is carved the Vijaya- 
nagar crest—' Varaha, sun, moon etc. The compact little tower with the sala-sikhara 
and ekatala lends beauty to the mandapa . There are some good stucco figures over 
the vimana and fine carving over the inner ceiling of the mandapa (Fig. 8) From its 
style this mandapa can be ascribed to the 16th century A.D. 

Gopura entrance and the compound wall 

As we go out of the third prakara , we pass through a gopura entrance which is 
now called Todarmal-vdsal. It is a fine and solid structure going back to the time 
of Kulottunga-L Many of his inscriptions are seen on the plinth portions and 
earliest of them belongs to A.D. 1106. 11 The style of its massive adhistana mould- 
ings and the pilasters is exactly like that of the gopura entrance in front of the 
Narasimha shrine; both of them were apparently built in the time of Kulottunga-I. 
The compound wall abutting on it seems to have been reconstructed more elabora- 
tely under the supervision of Alagia Manavala Jlyar, whose portrait figures are kept 
in small niches at the top of this compound wall. 

The gopura is broad-based and rises gradually in five diminishing tiers, the griva 
is rectangular over and is crowned by a sala-sikhara with five kalasas. At the centre 
of every tala there is a doorway flanked by dwarapalakas made of stucco. Four 
gaiudas in anjali are seated on the four corners of the topmost tala, just below the 
grim. Other than this, there are no sculptures on its body. Strings of miniature 
shrines like panjar a, kiita , sola are seen marking the parapet of every tala. Though 
renovated in recent years the gopura has unmistakable later Choja elegance and 
proportion. Abutting over this gopura on the west is a rectangular pillared portico 
built probably during the time of Krishnadeva Raya, whose inscriptions are found 
on its plinth. 

Fourth prakara 

Most of the shrines in this courtyard, in their present extant form, as well as the 
mandapas are the products of the Vijayanagar times. Some of them like the kaU 
yana-mandapa and the vahana mandapas are extraordinarily elegant and are of great 
architectural and monographic interest while many of the shrines are simple and 
unpretentious structures. To the latter category belong the shrines of Peria-alvar, 
Mudal-alvar, Tiruppan, Tondaradippcdi and Tirumalisai, which are distributed 
along the periphery of the outer enclosure. All of them display the same pattern of 
construction— a square sanctum, a small antardla and a mukha-mandapa with open 

Architecture 155 

pradakshina round the sanctum (see General Plan I). The pillars and pilasters dis- 
play the typical features of the 15th and 16th centuries. 

The shrine of Tiruppan and Tondaradippodi is noteworthy for its elegant vimdna 
over the sanctum. 

Similarly, the shrine of Nammalvar possesses a fine sikhara over its square sanc- 
tum. Another noteworthy structure in the Nammalvar shrine is its pillared mahd - 
mandapa in front. It is a product of Vijayanagar times and it contains some portrait 
sculptures of a Vijayanagar chieftain besides the sculptures of Alvars and acharyas 
like Tirukkachi-nambi. 

Krishna shrine 

From the architectural point of view this is very interesting shrine in the outermost 
prdkara. It has a square sanctum, a transverse ant ar ala and a mukha-mandapa of a late 
date. The cubical or the samachaturasra sanctum is topped by a dvitato sikhara (two-sto- 
reyed ) or ndgara class. 12 This is indeed a unique type in the temple, for invariably all the 
square sanctums here are crowned only by circular or vesara griva and sikhara . 
Square grim and square sikhara are indeed rare. This might have been built under the 
patronage of the later Pandyas who were familiar with such square-type vimanas. 13 
An inscription of one Sundara Pandya is found on the south wall of the entrance of the 
shrine. Evidently, it was Jatavarman Sundara Pandya who brought Kanchi under 
the Pandyan control sometime around A. D. 1260. But unfortunately the inscrip- 
tion is fragmentary. Probably, the shrine was built sometime during this period. The 
pilaster corbels have the incipient pumunai motif. There are five niches, two on either 
side and one on the back wall. The niches are each crowned by a small sala-sikhara 
with a central nasika arch. The cornice is short and straight. The small mandapa in 
front is a Vijayanagar addition. 

Chakrattalvar shrine 14 

This shrine is more like a spacious square hall without any features. The ant ar ala 
is not well marked. Around the hall is a closed pradakshina passage. Since Chak- 
rattalvar or Sudarsana image is two-faced, there are entrance gateways on either side 
of the shrine chamber. There are also two mukha-matydapas in front of the two 

The adhistana of the sanctum is composed of a plain upana, a faceted kumuda, a 
recessed kanta and two plain pattikas u The wall space is relieved by pilasters with 
shafts having square cross-section and the incipient pushpa-potika corbel. The fea- 
tures show that the shrine might have been built in the latter half of the 13th or the 
earlier half of the 14th century. 

The twelve-pillared mukha-mandapa on the west is a clear Vijayanagar addition, 
as evidenced by the tall double columns with prominent corbels. The central ceiling 
near the entrance is occupied by a large granite slab, bearing fine relief carving of 
Rama, Hanuman and Balakrishna. In the centre of the slab is a large lotus in blos- 
som. Around it are some of the scenes from Krishna’s life such as Krishna killing a 
demon in the form of a bird (Bakasura), another in the form of a calf (Dhenukasura), 
killing the elephant kesi, swallowing butter. Other figures carved in the next panel 
are Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Vishnu on Garuda etc. The Vijayanagar royal 

156 'ISrl Varadar&jaswdmi Temple— KMchi 
insignia is also carved prominently. 

Kalyana-mandapa (Fig 9) 

Perhaps the most remarkable product of the Vijayanagar art in this temple is the 
kalyana-mandapa, the ornamental pillared pavilion used for the annual ceremonial 
marriage of the God and the Goddess. Standing on an exquisitely carved elevated 
platform and occupying an area of 575 square metres this pavilion is supported by 
a closely lined colonnade of pillars, 96 in number, which are remarkable for their 
varied decorative detail and sculptural exuberance. Its lofty plinth (2 metres high) 
is divided by a number of prominent horizontal bands with finely carved designs, 
animal as well as floral, each band being separated from the next one by a deeply re- 
cessed portion. Friezes of elephants, horses, swans ( hamsa ), narrative panels from 
the Rdmdyana , dancing figures etc., occupy these bands. 

The pillars are all tall and monolithic and their shafts are sculptured into rich 
and varying patterns like warriors and hunters on rearing horses, the rampant ydli 
which are very characteristic of the Vijayanagar art motifs, as seen in similar pavilions 
at Vellore, Srirangam, Virinchipuram (North Arcot District). In some of them, 
full sculptures in the round are projecting out like Rati on the parrot, Manmata on 
swan etc. “The pillars consist”, in the words of Percy Brown, “a bizarre grouping 
of imaginary statuary with stone-cutting of a high order.” About the rampant ani- 
mal motif which repeatedly occurs in all their mandapas the same renowned art- 
critic observes aptly, “during the Vijayanagar regime this motif appears so frequently 
that it dominates every conception until it becomes an obsession. The rampant 
horseman in the later Dravidian building reveals the spirit of the times as the Vijaya- 
nagar era corresponds in some respects to the age of chivalry and romance which 
prevailed in the mediaeval Europe. That the armed forces of the Vijayanagar empire 
were of the finest calibre which kept their hereditary foes (Muslim powers) at bay, 
whereas almost every other part of the country succumbed at once. Something of 
this temper seems embodied in the art of this period and accounts for the columns of 
splendid cavaliers nonchalantly astride the gigantic rearing chargers and engaged in 
furious combat with fabulous creatures.” 15 Here in this temple motif is profusely 
depicted in its multifarious variety not only in the kalydna mandapa but also repeat- 
ed in the vdhana mandapa and the maha-mandapa in front of the Tayar shrine — all of 
which belong to the 16th century. Besides the normal Vijayanagar soldier with his 
typical head-dress, full sleeve and sword, a few European soldiers with carbines or 
muskets are also portrayed. Probably, they represent the Portuguese soldiers who 
were recruited into the Vijayanagar army. 

Besides these elaborately wrought composite columns which are found invariably 
near the facade and the sides the vast majority of the monolithic pillars inside dis- 
play contrasting geometrical shapes— a cube or saduram alternative with a fluted 
cylinder, all copiously carved. Each capital is a substantial four-branched foliated 
volute each terminating in the characteristic flower-pendant. Two other interesting 
features of this mandapa are its magnificent balustraded stepped entrance and the 
marvellous free-hanging chains of stone-rings at the four corners of the massive 
double flexed and intricately wrought cornice above. 

Architects e 157 

Entrance gopuras 

This immense temple -complex is appropriately enclosed by a high outer boundary 
wall, having two imposing gateways— one on the east and the other on the west — both 
being two towering gopuras. As already pointed out, the gopura on the west is shorter 
and more squattish whereas the one on the east is taller and narrower. The former 
is of an earlier date, as it seems to be essentially rooted in the late Ch5la tradition. 

The earliest inscription on the plinth portion is of the 13th century. The door- 
jambs, made of single tall monolithic pieces, are plain without the sdlabanjika and 
the creeper motif, that invariably appears in the Vijayanagar gateways. This motif 
is prominently carved on the eastern gopura . Further, the Vijayanagar insignia that 
is boldly carved on the ceilings of the gateway on the east is conspicuous by its 
absence on the western gateway. The corbels of the pilasters in the latter are still 
in the traditional stage, namely, undeveloped pushpa-potika. Hence, the western 
gopura is to be dated to the latter half of the 13th century while the eastern gUpura- 
entrance belongs to the first half of the 16th century A.D. 

Western gopura (Fig. 10) 

The massive granite base of the adhistana of the gopura , about 7 metres in height, 
is divided in its vertical plane into two principal storeys by a prominent pattika . 
Along the horizontal section, this huge mass is broken up by a number of projecting 
bays, alternating with recesses. The lower section or storey of the vertical stone 
part is composed of prominent horizontal mouldings with a very bold padma-tala 
base, a massive vritta kumuda , a pattika , vedi and prati over which are arranged a 
series of ornamental pilasters. Over this series is a broad prastara with a number 
of shallow &u^w-arches. This prastara marks the dividing line between the lower and 
the upper storeys of the stone base. The upper section is almost a repetition, of the 
lower one with certain differences. In addition to the similar horizontal mouldings 
we see the presence of four projecting niches on each side and the kumba-panjaras 
in the recesses. The corbels of the pilasters are in the form of undeveloped pushpa~ 
pdtika; the eave or kapota has not assumed the prominent double-flexure curvature. 
Hence, the style is characteristic of the later-Chola or the transitional period. 
The same can be said of the superstructure which is built in brick and mortar in 
seven diminishing tiers. It is broad and stunted. The body of the tower is not 
embellished by sculptures as are those of later gopuras of the Nayak period. Rather 
it is absolutely plain except for a series of miniature shrines composed of the sdlas , 
karnakutas and panjaras. The central projecting doorways are carried right upto 
the grlva portion. The griva is rectangular and at the apex is the massive sala - 
sikhara topped by nine glittering metal kalasas. 

Eastern gopura (Fig. 11) 

The gopura in the east is much taller (50 metres high) and composed of nine 
storeys, and topped by eleven kalasas. In fact it is the tallest structure in the entire 
temple- complex. It is a typical product of the mature Vijayanagar style— tall and 
narrow with a pronounced emphasis on vertically. It closely resembles the main 
tower of the Ekamresvarar temple at Ranchi which was built by Krishnadeva Raya 
in the beginning of the 16th century. 16 This gopura , as already pointed out, may also 

158 Sri Varadar&jasw&mi Temple— Kanchi 

belong to the same period. The Vijayanagar state-crest is boldly depicted on the 
ceilings of this gopura. There are two fine salabanjikas (ladies with creepers) carved 
on either side of the door-frame. The door-frame is highly ornamental (Fig. 12). 

The massive stone-base is made up of two parts, divided by a prominent kapota . 
The road level outside the gopura has risen considerably, burying the lowest mouldings. 
However, the prominent vritta-kumuda, pattlka and prati are clearly seen relieving 
the horizontal plane, while the vertical plane is broken up by a number of pilasters 
and projected niches. The upper section of the basement is relieved by projecting 
niches and the recesses bearing the kumba-panjara pilaster. The corbels are very 
much evolved with prominent lotus-bud end. 

The superstructure, made up of brick and mortar, is plain except for the inden- 
tations made by the series of miniature shrines like the sala in the centre and kutas 
at the corners and the panjaras in between on the sides. The central doorway open- 
ing is present in every tala right upto the griva which is rectangular. At the apex is 
the massive sala-sikhara with the kirti-mukha ends. 

Hastigiri — a hillock or a raised mound ? 

As pointed out in the beginning of this chapter, a peculiar and almost intriguing 
feature of this temple is the so-called Hasti-hill, over which the main sanctuary is 
placed. It is in the form of a square enclosure closed by huge walls covering an 
area of 30 metre square. 

The enclosing walls are about 7.3 metres high and are plain except for one 
kopota moulding in the middle and the vyalavari on the top. The shrine of Varada- 
raja on the upper floor is reached by a flight of steps at the south-eastern corner of 
the enclosure. On the western side of the ‘hill’, on the ground floor, is the shrine 
for Nrisimha which is conceived of as a cave, though this is also a built-up 

What is inside this huge square enclosure on the ground floor which has since 
been closed ? When and why was it closed ? All the Vaishnava achdryas like 
Kurattalvar, Tirukkachi-nambi (11th century) and Vedanta Desika (13th century) 
mention it as the hill. Kurattalvar in one of his verses calls the Lord as residing at 
the Sikhara (peak) of the hill. The present walled enclosure can be dated not later 
than the middle of the 11th century A.D. at the latest as attested by the presence of 
an inscription dated A.D. 1050 inside. In all probability, the walled enclosure was 
there during the times of Ramanuja (1016-1137) and his contemporary Kurattalvar 
and Tirukkachi-nambi. Therefore their references to the giri or sailam were only to 
this walled elevation. 

What is inside this enclosure is anybody’s guess— natural hillock or an artificially 
raised mound ? The chances for the existence of a rocky hillock there are remote, 
for we do not see any visible rocky outcrop for miles around in the neighbourhood. 
Secondly, if it were a natural hillock there was no need to build the enclosure walls 
and encase it; nor is such a practice known. On the other hand, from a few 
exposures seen near the flight of steps (leading up the 'hill’) it can be observed, that 
the outer veneering is done by roughly-hewn blocks of stone, giving us the appearance 
of an artificially raised mound or platform. This also explains or justifies the 
camouflaging done with the high walls to cover up the mound and at the same time 

Architecture 259 

give it the sanctity of a hill. This camouflaging is seen very clearly in the so-called 
cave-shrine of Nrisimha on the ground floor. There is no trace of natural rock 
anywhere inside the shrine which has been improvised by building walls of dressed 
stones to make it a narrow and rectangular cell about 11 metres long and 2 metres 
broad (in the average). The hind wall is in the form of a stone-screen which 
prevents the onlooker from seeing the inner core or the portals of the ‘hill’. It 
appears to have been the result of a deliberate attempt to create an artificial cave- 
shrine to provide an abode for Nrisimha, the cave-dweller. 

Whatever may be the true contents or nature of this hill, it cannot be gainsaid 
that it is a solid foundation meant to carry massive superstructures — the sanctum 
with a narrow processional circuit around it (which is now closed), an antarala,, , two 
mukha-mandapas , a maha-mandapa and an outer pillared verandah — all occupying an 
area of 900 sq. metres. The walls of the sanctum are nearly 4 metres thick. Added 
to it is the weight of the large sala-sikhara on the sanctum. This massive weight 
could stand only on a solid foundation on either rock or well-ramped platform. We 
are not permitted to make any openings in this enclosure to have a glimpse of its 
contents. But perhaps a near parallel is afforded by the temple of Chandraprabha 
at Tiruparuttikunram near Ranchi. There also, the ground-floor is closed and the 
main shrine of Chandraprabha is situated on the upper floor, reached by a flight of 
steps. This was also called by the Jainas as ‘ Ervana sthalam ’ or the Malayandr 
Kovil (the hill temple) because of its elevation. Some trial diggings were made at 
the top near the antarala portion and it was found that the so-called hill was filled 
with sand and mud. The possibility of a similar arrangement at Hastigiri cannot 
be ruled out. 17 

What is the purpose in creating this elevated platform ? Why was the garb agriha 
placed on its top ? The reason, as pointed out earlier, may simply be to give a hill- 
like elevation, as in the case of a few other temples of Tamilnad. Such an 
artificially raised hill is called in Tamil Kattu-malai and a few temples built 
over such ‘hills’ are found scattered in Tamilnad. The Vishnu temple built 
by Dantivarman at Alampakkam is an outstanding example. The main deities 
in the two famous shrines— Vatapatrasayi temple at Srxvilliputtur and TirukkottiyUr 
temple — both in Ramanathapuram District of Tamilnad are also not on the ground 
floor but on the raised platform. 

Uttaravedi Concept 

But a deeper significance may perhaps also be considered as regards the raised 
enclosure of this temple. It may be an architectural depiction of the puranic 
description of the Uttaravedi on which Brahma performed his yajna to invoke the 
presence of Lord Vishnu. The sthalapurdna account has it that Brahma ordered 
Visvakarma, the divine architect, to convert the hill into a square Uttaravedi for him 
to perform the yajna. 18 Whatever may be the value of the puranic account, the 
concept of Uttaravedi mentioned here seems to be significant. The Uttaravedi , 
according to the ancient texts, 19 was a high platform or mound, square in shape, 
which served as the ground or basement for the fire-altar which was also a square 
and which was at the centre of the Uttaravedi. The fire-altar was called the Nab hi 
and in it was placed the fire-pan or the ukha made of clay. It is also square in 

160 Sri Varadardjaswdmi Temple — Kafichi 

shape. It is spoken of as the womb of Agni or fire and its cube is stated to hold the 
manifested universe. The Hindu temple, as Stella Kramrish has shown, reflects 
this conception very well, 20 

Here in this temple, the so-called Hastigiri is a large enclosure of 30 metre 
square with nearly 8 metres high walls, which might represent the Uttaravedi, the 
high square basement. In the centre of this basement, we have two more concentric 
square enclosures, the outer measuring 13 metre square (around the sanctum 
including the tiruvunnaligai ) which might represent the fire-altar or the nabhi and the 
innermost sanctuary ( garbagriha ) which is a chamber of 3 metre square might 
represent the fire-pan or the womb-chamber. 

Though basically, every Hindu temple may be taken to represent this concept 
and the vedi has been incorporated as an integral architectural member in the temple 
elevation, special emphasis is laid here on the Uttaravedi. Because the place had 
come to be renowned as the place where Brahma erected the Uttaravedi for his 
yajnct and Lord Varadaraja in his Puny akoti-vim ana came out of the sacrificial fire, 
it is likely that this idea was architecturally depicted by laying emphasis on the 
Uttaravedi and making it into a large and imposing platform for the extant vimana 
along with its circumambulatory. It is an instance of the knowledge of the rites 
inspiring architectural forms. 


J. Dubreuil classified the styles in the follow- Similarly, they occur in the Chsla struc'ure 

ing manner : from A.D. 850 to 1100 Chola; at Darasuram and Tribhuvanam. For all 

from A.D. 1100 to 1350 Pandya; though these reasons it would be better to designate 

broadly correct, the need for revision has the style of the period for 1100-1350 as later 

been emphasised by more than one scholar. Chola, particularly in the Tondaiman^alam 
See K.R. Srinivasan, J.O I S.O.A. XVI area. 

(1943), The Last of the Great Chola Temple . 3. 478 of 1919. 

In the Chola period itself three phases, the 4. 519 of 1919. 

Early, the Middle and the Later have been 5. See also at the end of the chapter for further 
distinguished. The Middle Chola phase coin- discussion on the point, 
tides with the reigns of Rajaraja-I, Rajendra- 6. 522 of 1919. 

I and Rajadhiraja-I. K.A.N. Sastri , Cholas, 7. This gopura compares well with the gdpura 
p. 693. on the Aryabaital-vasal at Srirangam temple. 

Also see S.R. Balasubramaniam, Four Chola built in the 11th century A .D. (Hari Rao, 
Temples (1963), pp. 34-35. The Srirangam Temple , p. 56). 

2. Dubreuil called it the ‘Pandyan phase’. K.R. 8. 605 of 1919. 

Srinivasan has rightly questioned this and 9. See Chapter III. 

shown that the Chola style continued to 10. See for illustration, Longhurst, Humpi Ruins , 

hold the ground for a considerably longer Fig. 28, p. 74. 

period, almost to the end of the 13th cen- 11. 631, 632 and 635 of 1919. 

tury A.D. , if not later (J.O J.S.O. A., op. cit., 12. F.H. Gravely and T.N. Ramachandran, 

p. 33). Particularly, the Pandyan appellation Three Main Styles of Temple Architecture, 1934, 

cannot be applied in toto to the Tondai- p. 22. Also see for importance of this type 

mandalam region, where the later Chola K.V. Soundara Rajan, The Matrix of South 

style imperceptibly merged with the succeed- Indian Architecture , J.I.H. XLIII, Dec. 1965, 

ing Vi jayanagar style. The incipient pushpa- pp. 808-811. 

pdtikai corbel which is usually considered to 13. The Kattalagia Singar shrine within the Sri- 
be a Pandyan contribution, actually occurs rangam temple has a similar ndgara type of 
in well dated Chola structures of this temple, sikhara and it was also built by a Pandya king 
datable to AJD 1129 (see Fig. 40, item B). (Hari Rao, The Srirangam Temple , p. 64). 

Architecture 161 

14. The Chakrattalvar shrine is slightly on the nadeva Raya about A.D. 1516. F.H. Gravely, 

north-west of the main sanctum. At Srlran- The Gdpuras of Tiruxannamalai , Madras, 

gam it is on the south-west. Evidently a 1959, p. 5. 

fixed location for the shrine was not evolved. 17. T.N. RamachandraD, Tiruparuttik unram and 
But both are in the fourth enclosure. its Temples (1934), pp. 12-13. 

15. Percy Brown, Indian Architecture (Buddhist 18. Vide Chapter 1. 

and Hindu), Third Edn. 19. Brihat Samhita , Quoted by Stella Kramrisch, 

16. See also the western gdpura at Tiruvannama- The Hindu Temple, Vol. I, pp. 146-147. 
lai whose superstructure was built by Krish- 20. Ibid. 



General features 

As one of the largest Vishnu temples of South India, having shrines for different 
forms or aspects of Vishnu, His ayudhapurushas and other dvarana devatas (subsidiary 
deities), Sri Varadarajaswami temple presents interesting monographic details which 
deserve study. As in architecture so in iconography, we find that the temple posses- 
ses fine stone and metal specimens, representative of the Chola and Vijayanagar 
traditions. While the former are comparatively scarce and found only as enshrined 
images, the latter are found in great profusion not only as cult-images but also bas- 
reliefs on the pillars and the plinths of the mandapas. Stone images such as those 
of Ranganatha, Narasimha, Valampuri Ganesa and the metal icons of the main 
deity of Varadaraja and His two consorts, Perundevi, Ramanuja, Nammalvar, 
Madurakavi- Alvar, Nathamuni, Anantalvar and Chakrattalvar are some of the out- 
standing specimens which typify the naturalness in form and simplicity of demeanour, 
the hallmarks of the Chola style. The contours of the body are not angular or 
rigid but natural and flowing. The ornamentation or the garments like the antariya 
are simple and depicted as though they are part of the body and do not stand out 
separately. While the icons of Gods and Goddesses with their abhaya and varada 
mudras radiate the qualities of saulabhya (easy accessibility) and sausilya (gracious - 
ness), the twin qualities held supreme by the Srl-Vaishnavas, the icons of the Alvars 
like Nammalvar and Madurakavi and the achdryas like Nathamuni and Ramanuja 
are embodiments of humility, devotion and absolute surrender in body and soul to 
the one they held as the Supreme Being. They were mortals but worshipped as 
divine beings. These images, with their characteristic ahjali or vyakyana-mudra , ins- 
pire the same emotions of humility and devotion in the hearts and minds of multitudes, 
who hold them in veneration. Their lives and works are considered the beacon-lights, 
showing the path of salvation for the humanity. Hence, the importance given to these 
saints in the temples. 

The Vijayanagar period continued the iconographic traditions with fresh vigour. 
Icons of the majority of the Alvars and achdryas in this temple were products of 
this time. Manavala Mahamuni, the last of the great achdryas , was deified in this 
period. The sculptural reliefs found in the Kalyana-mandapa, the Vahana-mandapa , 
and a few other places, show remarkable variety in theme and beauty in depiction. 
Though the classic touch of the Chola art is missing, still they possess considerable 
grace and artistic charm and merit. In Section 1, attention is confined only to the 
images that are installed in the shrines, while Section 2 deals with those found out- 
side the shrines. 

164 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple — Kanchi 

Section 1 


The principal deity of the temple is Vishnu as Varadaraja. The Hindu mind took 
delight and solace in conceiving of God in multifarious forms and aspects. In the 
temples of Tamilnad, Vishnu was worshipped in the different attitudes— sthanaka or 
standing, ascma or sitting and sayana or reclining. 1 Here, Varadaraja is depicted in 
his standing posture in the erect samabhanga pose. His two upper hands hold sanka 
and chakra, while his lower left holds the gada and the right is in the abhaya-mudra . 
All the characteristic attributes of Vishnu are found — kirita-makuta or a high crown, 
makara-kundala in the ears, haras or necklaces, keyura (armlets), kankanas (wristlets), 
udar a-banda round his waist, katibanda around his hip, yajhdpavita or the sacred 
thread. Sr! or Lakshmi is on his right chest. The mulabhera is shown without con- 
sorts, whereas the utsavamurti is hanked by Srl-devi on his right and Bhu-devi on his 
left. As already pointed out, the mulabhera was originally in wood and was changed 
at a later date into one of stone. The utsava-vigraha of Lord Varadaraja is also in 
the same pose but hanked by the consorts. They are bronze-icons of exquisite beauty 
(Fig. 1 3). In fact, they are considered by the Sri-Vaishnavas to be among the oldest 
and most beautiful icons. The central figure is in the samabhanga posture, whereas 
flanking images of Sri-devi and Bhu-devi are in rhythmic tribhanga pose. The depic- 
tion is tender and charming and can well belong to the earlier half of the 11th 
century A.D. 


In the second prakdra there is a shrine for Nrisimha the man-lion incarnation of 
Vishnu. An inscription dated A.D. 1131 mentions the deity as Singapperumal 
(the Lion-God). 2 Almost all early temples have idols of Nrisimha and Varaha. 
The dgamas require the figure of Nrisimha to be set up on the west of the 
central shrine. 3 This is faithfully followed in this temple. Here in this shrine 
he is represented in the yoga- form. He is seated on the padmasana in 

the utkutika posture i.e., knees bent crosswise and belted around by the ydgapatta* 


Vishnu is enshrined in the sayana pose as anantasdyi here. This shrine is on the 
outermost prdkara on northern bank of the Anantasaras tank. Though the present 
shrine is of only the Vijayanagar times, the deity seems to be older. There is an ins- 
cription of the 11th century elsewhere in the temple which refers to the installation 
of Vishnu in recumbent pose in a shrine in this temple. It is quite probable that the 
reference is to this image According to the agamic injunctions, the head of the 
reclining figure should be to the left of the worshipper. This is followed here too. 
The shrine and the deity face south and the head is placed on the west. 

The popularity of the temple of Ranganatha at Srirangam has probably influenced 
the erection of this deity here. We get a number of other instances showing the 
influence of Srirangam on Kanchi. This is one of them. Though the shrine is unfor- 
tunately in a state of neglect, the deity is graceful and bold in its features. 

Iconography 165 

The other forms of Vishnu for whom there are separate shrines are Varaha (boar- 
incarnation), Krishna and Rama. The shrines for the former two are dilapidated 
and in disuse. The utsava-id ol of Krishna is kept in the main shrine. Another image 
of Krishna depicted as a young boy drinking milk was installed in the time of 
Krishnadeva Raya. 


Sri or Lakshmi, the chief consort of Vishnu, is called by different local Tamil 
names such as Ranganayaki in Srirangam, Alarmelumangai or Padmavati at Tirupati, 
Vedavalli at Tiruallikeni. Here, she is called Perundevi or Periapiratti, the 
prime consort. But the iconic representation of all of them is more or less the same. 
She is as usual seated on the padmasana. She has four arms, the lower two being in 
the abhaya and varada-mudras and the rear ones carry the lotus-bud in each of them. 
She is richly decked with the karanda makuta and other jewels. The icons both 
in stone and metal are beautiful, though conventional (see Fig. 13 left extreme). 
They may be placed in the later Chola period, about the first half of the 13th century 
A.D., when indeed the Tayar shrine came to be built. 

Andal and Malayala Nachiar 

There is a separate shrine for each of them on either side of the gdpura-entrmcQ of 
the second prakara. The mulabhera and the utsava-bheras of both the figures are of 
exquisite beauty and have interesting iconographic details. Andal or Goda is repre- 
sented as a beautiful young maiden, a bride with her hair done up as kesa-banda. 
She stands in a graceful tribhanga pose, holding a flower in her hand. While Andal 
was the daughter of a commoner, Perialvar, Serakulavallinachiar, was the daughter 
of the Chera king and hence she is wearing a kirita-makuta. She also stands in the 
tribhanga pose. While AndaJ holds the flower in her left, she holds it in her right 
hand. It is of interest to note that at Srirangam, Serakulavalli Nachiar is represented 
in the seated pose, while here at Kanchi she is standing. The icons of the Andal 
and Serakulavalli look almost alike and seem to have been the products of early 
14th century A.D., when the late-Chola tradition was yielding place to the early 
Vijayanagar style. Conventionalism had set in but the beauty of the form was not 

Senai Mudaliar 

Visvaksena or Senai-mudaliar is the commander of the hordes of Vishnu and as 
such holds an important place, nearest to the main deity. There is a small shrine 
for him within the second prakara close to the ‘hill’. He holds an important place 
in the dchdrya hierarchy of the Srl-Vaishnavas, next only to Sri or Lakshmi. He is 
invoked by them at the beginning of all auspicious ceremonies. He is also the custo- 
dian of the personal effects of the Lord and so, in all important festivals, special 
worship is offered to him first. His image which is a small one here represents him 
in seated posture with four hands, the upper ones carrying the discus and the conch 
while the right lower hand is in tarjani (warning) pose and the left one holds a heavy 
Gada or mace. 5 

166 Sri VaradarOjaMmt TempU—Kffichi 

Anant&lv&r (Fig. 14) 

An interesting feature of this temple is that it has a separate shrine for Garuda, 
Ananta and Sudarsana Chakra as at Srxrangam. These three and the Panchajanya 
(conch) are called the Nityas or Nitya-Suris , who eternally enjoy the presence and 
contact of the Supreme Lord Narayana in His abode Paramapada. They are consi- 
dered to be in eternal communion with the Lord even in His Transcendent or the 
Para form. They are engaged in continuous service ( kainkarya ) to the Lord. A 
popular Tamil verse of the Alvars eulogises Ananta for the multifarious services he 
renders to the Lord : * 4 He serves as a couch to the Lord in the distinctive seat; as 
an umbrella when the Lord walks; as a seat when He sits; as sandals when He 
stands and as a float in the sacred ocean of milk. 5 ’ 6 The very name Sesha means 
that he is in eternal servitude to Lord in various forms, in all places, in all states 
and at all times. The depiction of the Ananta or Sesha in the human form with the 
hood above is one of the exquisite representations in this temple. It is datable to the 
13th century A.D. 


Garuda who is affectionately called by the Srl-Vaishnavas as Garudalvar or Peria- 
Tiruvadi has his place directly opposite to the presiding deity in all temples. So also 
here. He is the faithful devotee of the Lord and so he is in the anjali pose. Being 
the Lord’s mount he is standing with outspread wings, ever ready to carry Him. The 
fine image of Garuda is placed in a specially allotted shrine facing the sanctum. The 
Garuda image is placed not only in the shrine but also in the corners of the manda- 
pas and the prdkdra walls. 

Sudarsana or Chakrattalvar 

Chakrattalvar is the personification of the discus, one of the weapons of Vishnu. 
Though the metal image of the chakra alone can be found in all Vishnu temples, 
separate shrines for the chakra as the mulabhera and in the personified form are 
extremely rare and found only in older temples like Srlrangam and Tirumalai. The 
representation found in our temple is one of the most powerful and impressive of its 
kind. It is in outline a chakra or circular frame with jvala or flames depicted on 
the rim. Within the large circle, there is the shatkona design made up by two inter- 
lacing equilateral triangles. In the centre of this is another smaller circle in which 
stands Sudarsana in fearful aspect, his hair standing out in jatas or plaits which are 
like the flames of the God of fire. He is having prominent tusks. On the reverse, 
there is the figure of Narasimha in the centre in the yoga form. This image in our 
temple is quite impressive both in stone and metal. One peculiarity observed in the 
metal image or utsava idol is that within the circular framework there are as many 
as seven figures of Chakrattalvar in standing pose — the main one in the centre and 
six smaller ones are in each of the small peripheral triangles of rays of the six- 
pointed star. This depiction is indeed unique and hardly met with anywhere else. 


The presence of a separate shrine for GanSsa in a Vishnu temple is interesting. It 
is in the south-west corner of the second prdkdra . It is an uncommon type of 

Iconography 16? 

GanSsa known as the Valampuri GanSsa, who has his trunk or proboscis turned to 
his right instead of left. The image is a fine product of the later Chela times. 


Another rarity in this temple is the shrine for Danvantrin— the father of Indian 
Medicine and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The shrine is on the south-east comer 
of the second prakara. Both the mula and the atsava images are small. He is seat- 
ed with two hands, one of them bearing a vessel of nectar. 7 It is well known that 
Ramanuja instituted a hospital or arogyasala and renovated the Danvantrin shrine at 
Srirangam temple. He placed his disciple Garudavahana Pundita in charge of the 
shrine and made arrangements for offering of medicinal decoction or kashaya to God 
every night before the closure of the temple. 8 Some such practice based on Rama- 
nuja’s injunctions should have inspired the construction of a shrine for Danvantrin at 
Kanchi too. 

Icons of Alvars and Acharyas 

As already remarked an important feature of a Srf-Vaishnava temple is the deifi- 
cation of the Alvars and Acharyas. Inscriptional and literary evidences were cited 
to show that probably the Mudal-alvars, Nammalvar and possibly Tirumangai and 
Andal were deified prior to the Vijayanagar times, though separate shrines for them 
came later on. The rest of the Alvars seem to have been deified in the early decades 
of the Vijayanagar rule. The iconographic features of many of the Alvars are alike 
ie., the three Mudal-alvars and Tirumalisai are seated with anjali-hasta . Tiruman- 
gai Alvar, Kulasekhara and Tondaradippodi are in standing pose — the former two in 
royal dress and the third as a humble devotee. The metal-icons of Nammalvar and 
Madurakavi and the Nathamunigal housed in the same shrine are of remarkable 
beauty. They display unmistakable Choja grace. Nammalvar is seated in the 
centre in a yogic posture while Madurakavi and Nathamuni are standing on either 
side. The former was a direct disciple who said that he knew no God other than 
Nammalvar and the latter (Nathamuni) was the first to popularise Nammalvar’s 
hymns. 9 So, they form an inseparable trio in the minds of the Sri-Vaishnavas. This 
sentiment has been admirably portrayed in metal here. The depiction of Nammalvar 
with his right arm half bent and held near his chest in chin-mudra is said to be uni- 
que and not to be found in any other temple of South India. 

Among the idols of acharyas , that of Ramanuja stands out for its suppleness and 
beauty. It is a rare and fine Chola image, depicting Ramanuja with the vyakyana - 
mudra which is very unusual. He is usually shown in anjali pose; but here, and at 
Tirumalai, he is depicted with the vyakyana-mudra or pose of exposition. This 
image was installed here in A. D. 1191 and as such is one of the earliest portrayals 
of Ramanuja. 10 

The iconographic features of other acharyas like Alavandar and Kurattalvar are 
more or less of the same pattern. They are, as usual, shown seated with anjali 
pose. Both the mulabhera and the bronze icon of Manavala Mahamuni are hand- 
some and display admirable poise, characteristic of the Vijayanagar times (Fig. 15). 
The mulabhera has a serpent hood over as Manavala Mahamuni is believed to be an 

168 Sri Vara dor a \jaswdmi Temple — Kdnchi 
incarnation of Adisesha. 

Section 2 


All the extant specimens of Choi a sculptures in stone an dmetal are found ins- 
talled only in the shrines. Outside in the various ma?idapas and other auxiliary 
structures, the plastic scheme is dominated by the Vijayanagar style. In fact, this 
temple provides a fine array of Vijayanagar sculptures, rich in iconographic details 
and visual beauty. 

The places where these sculptures are found are the Kalyana-mandapa , the Vahana - 
mandapa , the Tirukkachi-nambi-mandapa , the mandapas in front and by the side of the 
Abhisheka mandapa and Nammalvar shrine. But the best representative collection 
is to be found at the Kalyana-mandapa which alone contains more than eight hun- 
dred bas-reliefs, depicting various puranic themes and characters. But, many of 
the themes are often repeated in this mandapa and elsewhere. The subject matter of 
sculpture is varied and comprises of the scenes from the Ramayana , the 1 Bhagavata 
and other puranas; the episodes connected with the sthalapurana of the temple; 
the Dasavatara or the ten incarnations of Vishnu and other minor incarnations; the 
Vaishnava saints or Alvars and acharyas ; portrait-sculptures of royal benefactors; 
mithunas or love-scenes, comic scenes and a few animal motifs. 

The sculptures described below are all from the Kalyana-mandapa unless other- 
wise stated. 


The sculptures found in the Kalyana-mandapa and the other mandapas of this 
temple mentioned above undoubtedly take their rank with some of the best and 
mature specimens of the Vijayanagar art of the 16th century A.D. Though conven- 
tional, they display accurate and mature workmanship. Except in a few cases 
where there is exaggeration of features or stiff disposition, the figures are natural in 
pose and attitude. A certain amount of standardisation of iconographic details is 
noticeable, but there is no stylisation as is seen in some of the exaggerated figures of 
NEyak school of Madurai or Tirunelveli. Here, the figures are of modest size and 
of pleasing demeanour. The artist’s fondness for displaying the towering jewelled 
crown, some of which are typical of those worn by the Vijayanagar kings, elabora- 
tely folded draperies and lavish jewellery like necklaces, armlets, anklets etc., is 
clearly noticeable. A desire to depict Vishnu in unique forms is also seen in such 
peculiar poses like the Dasabhuja-Nishiixi, Astabhuja- Vishnu, Vishnu dancing on the 
apasmara (like Nataraja), etc. While some of the figures of Gods are somewhat 
static, the figures like Dasaratha and his queens, Tirukkachi-nambi are admirable 
examples to show that the sculptors were capable of depicting feelings and aspira- 
tions. The sculpture of Tirukkachi-nambi ever standing to do his fanning service 
to the Lord is one of the best sculptures of this temple. The narrative panels depict- 
ing various scenes from Ramayana and the Bhagavata testify that the artists were 
capable of showingmovement. There is a good number of portrait-sculptures of 
kings, queens and chieftains, with the Vijayanagar royal dress. 

Iconography 169 

The dexterity in depicting the sensuousness of the amorous couples indulging in 
the various acts of the love-game is seen in many sculptures in the Kalyana-mandapa 
and the vahana-mantlapa. The Vijayanagar artists took special delight in depicting 
many comic figures of clown, street-dancer, gipsy etc., which throw interesting side- 
lights on the folk-arts and many amusements of the times. Similarly, curious ani- 
mal figures like two cows having one common head are also seen. 

In short, one sees in these sculptures a close affinity of theme and style to the 
beautiful sculptures found in the temples like the Hazara Rama and Vitthala temples 
at Hampi. They are exuberant but not exaggerated or uncouth. They are conven- 
tional, but not stylised or prosaic. They combine beauty of form with restraint in 
modelling. Though a few jarring notes could be seen here and there, they are on 
the whole excellent products of one of the most atiractive schools of art of South 

A- Ramayana scenes 

A lofty and ornamental plinth of the Kalyana-mandapa is divided into a number 
of horizontal bands with exquisitely carved designs. While friezes of floral and 
animal designs occupy the top bands, the lowest course has a running narrative panel 
depicting some of the scenes from the Ramayana. Some of the outstanding episodes 
are : Rishyasringa performing the yajha wherefrom he got the havis ; Dasaratha with 
his three queens receiving the havis (Fig. 16); the birth of Rama, Lakshmana, 
Bharata and Satrugna; two men lifting up the divine bow of Janaka and Rama break- 
ing it. 11 Rama’s meeting with Sugriva and his encounter with Vali are depicted with 

In one of the panels Rama demonstrates his valour as an archer to Sugriva by 
shooting through the seven trees with a single arrow (Fig. 17). All the seven trees 
are standing on the body of a serpent. The arrow piercing all the trees passed through 
the serpent’s neck. This is evidently after a Kannada version of the episode found 
later in the Ananda Ramayana also. Earlier version has inspired similar panels at the 
Hoysalesvara temple at Halebid and the Hazara Rama temple at Hampi. 12 

After Rama proved his valour Sugriva sought his help against his powerful 
brother Vali. In another panel Sugriva is seen bowing down humbly in front of 
Rama who blesses him. 

The Vali-Sugriva fight is depicted with considerable vigour. Vali is shown over- 
powering Sugriva by pressing the latter’s head down. Sugriva is groaning in agony. 
Rama and Lakshmana are shown standing behind the tree and watching the fight. 
Rama is aiming an arrow at Vali (Fig. 18). 

The other scenes depicted are : the union between Rama and Vibhlshana; Rama 
embracing Hanuman who brought the ring from Slta; Hanuman lifting the Sanjivi hill; 
Rama seated on the shoulders of Hanuman and fighting Ravaiia etc. Hanuman in 
particular is depicted repeatedly in different poses. Worship of Hanuman, the 
symbol of Hindu valour and prowess, became very popular during the days of Vijaya- 
nagar empire (Fig. 19). He was glorified with many attributes of Vishnu and in 
one figure, he is shown with Sankha , Chakra etc. 

170 Sri Varadarafaswdmi Temple— Kdfichi 

B. Scenes from KrishnSvatara 

Scenes depicting Krishna-llla or the playful acts of Krishna were popular with 
the Vijayanagar poets and artists. Several works appeared on the theme of the 
Krishna legend such as Potana’s Bhagavata- pur ana, Virabhadra’s Jaimini Bhdrata, 
Krishnadeva Raya’s Jdmbavati Kalyanam and Timmana’s Parijatapaharanam. Similarly 
there was a spurt in the sculpture representation too. He is depicted in three stages : 
as a child, as a mischievous little boy full of fun and frolic and fond of stealing milk 
and butter and as a grown-up man affording protection to the cowherds. Some of the 
scenes depicted are : Krishna killing the demon who came in the form of a bird (Baka- 
sura) (Fig. 20); Krishna seated with a stolen pot of butter; tied to a stone-mortar 
by Yasoda; dancing over the shoulders of the Gopis; making love with a Gopi and 
at the same time stealthily taking butter from the pot kept on her head; stealing the 
sarees and garments of the Gopis while they were taking bath in the Yamuna, i.e., 
Vastrdpaharana (Fig. 21) is found in the vahana-mandapa ; lifting the Govardhana hill 
(Fig. 22); dancing over the hooded snake (Kaliyamardana—Fig. 23). 

Some queer depictions like the astabhuja and dasabhuja Venugopala are also found. 
In both of them Krishna stands cross-legged, playing on the flute. He has six weapons 
in his hands and the two hands are engaged in playing on flute. The two extra hands 
of Dasabhuja Venugopala hold flowers. The cows are shown to be spell-bound by the 
divine music. The panchardtra-agama calls this form of Krishna by the name 
Madana-Gopala. 13 

C Dasavatara and other forms of Vishnu 

Though the stories of Rama and Krishna dominate the sculptural scheme, other 
forms of Vishnu like the Dasavatara have also received attention. All the ten incarna- 
tions have been sculptured. Particularly popular were the incarnations of Narasimha 
and Trivikrama. In the varaha-avatdra (Fig. 24), he is shown having the human form 
and the face of a boar. His left leg is bent and made to rest on the jewelled hood 
of the mythical serpent, Adisesha, representing the nether-world or patala-loka from 
where the earth was delivered. Over the bent leg is seated the Bhu-devi the Goddess 
of the earth, just rescued from ocean. In the Bhu-varaha panels at Mamallapuram, 
Bhu-devi is seated on the right bent leg. 14 The depiction here is more formal. 

Narasimhavatara is depicted in several scenes. The man-lion figure is shown advan- 
cing towards Hiranya who lifts up the sword to strike. Narasimha overpowers him, 
his right hand holding the neck and another catching hold of his crown while a third 
tightly grips the sword-bearing hand of Hiranya, completely disarming him (Fig. 25). 
A similar depiction in the Pallava style is found at the Vaikuntaperumal temple at 
Kahchi. The next final act of Narasimha tearing the chest of Hiranya is also 

Trivikrama-avatdra is also depicted beautifully. Vishnu took this gigantic form 
to stride the three worlds— the earth, the mid-world and the heaven. In Tamil he 
is called Ulagalanda-Perumal, for whom there is a separate temple at Kanchi. Here 
he is shown only with four hands unlike the Pallava figure of Mahabalipuram which 
shows eight arms, as required by the Vaikhdnasa-dgama . 15 

Vishnu as Mohini was a favourite theme and is found repeated at several places. 
It represents Vishnu in the form of a charming and seductive lady, distributing 

Iconography 171 

the amrita to the dgvas. Siva requested Vishnu to curb the pride of the sages of 
the Daruka forest. They were seduced and made to lose control of their senses. 
This theme has given the Vijayanagar artists an opportunity to depict the female 
form with all its voluptuousness. The rishis are shown clustering round her in a 
sensuous frenzy (Fig. 26). 

The rare form of Vishnu as Adimurthi or Vaikuntanatha is also found. He is 
seated on the coiled serpent (Fig. 27). Astabhuja Vishnu is also represented. In one of 
them he is shown dancing on the apasmdra like demon (like Nataraja). Vishnu on 
Garuda (Gajendra-Varada) and as Hayagrlva is also shown, besides separate depic- 
tion of Srl-devi and Bhu-devi. 

D. Sthalapurana legends 

The following incidents connected with the Sthalapurana of this temple have also 
formed the subject matter of sculptures here. 

Brahma with other sages engaged in the performance of the sacrifice at Kanchi. 
Brahma’s consort Saraswati who was angry with her husband for not giving her 
due honour induces the River Vegavati to flood the sacrificial altar and spoil it (Fig. 
28). Narada who instigated Saraswati is also shown in the sculpture. From the 
sacrificial fire emerged Vishnu in the Punyakoti vimana (Fig. 29). 

E. Alvars and Acharyas 

A few representations of the Alvars are also found. Tirumangai is represented as 
a warrior-chieftain (Fig. 30), Perialvar and Nathamuni with cymbals, Kulasekhara 
in his royal dress. By far the best representation is that of Tirukkachi-nambi, 
found in many mandapas including the Tinikkachi-nambt-mandapa. He is depicted 
in anjali in all humility carrying the alavatta , a long-handled fan (Fig. 31). Rama- 
nuja getting initiation from Peria-nambi is also represented. 

According to the Bhagavatapurana, Vedavyasa was one of the manifestations of 
Vishnu. Hence, his representations are found in the Vishnu temples at Srlrangam 
and Kanchi. The Vishnudarmdttara states that Vyasa should wear dark brown jatds 
and should be shown with his four disciples, Sumantu, Jaimini, Paila and Vaisam- 
payana. In this figure, the disciples are not clearly identifiable. Perhaps Sankara 
was one. 

F. Ayudapurushas and other celestial figures 

Sudarsana or discus, the chief of Vishnu’s weapons, is personified. He stands 
within a circle of flame. In another sculpture he is represented on the Garuda and 
topped by the Adisesha. He has five faces and sixteen hands and carries Sitlas 
(Fig 32). 

Besides this, Gandharvas, Kinnaris and Yakshas are also shown. 

G. Love scenes 

Quite a number of sculptures depict intimate love-scenes. As in poetry, so in 
sculpture, due place was given for the Sringara-rasa . Various explanations have 
been given to justify their presence in a religious place, which need not be repeated 
here. But what is to be noted is that such representations which were restrained 

172 Sri Varadar&jasw&mi Temple — KSftchi 

and limited increased in number and sensuousness during the Vijayanagar epoch. 
They are to be seen repeated in almost all Vijayanagar and Nayak structures all over 
South India. They are characteristic of the age which glorified joyous life and 

At the main entrance to the Kalyana-mandapa are the life-size representations of 
Manmatha and Rati, embodiments of God and Goddess of Love in Indian mytho- 
logy (Fig. 33). Manmatha or Kama is the son of Krishna and is believed to be 
personification of everlasting manly beauty. He is seated on the swan (hamsa) and 
is engaged in a sport of shooting an arrow of flowers from his bow made of sugar- 
cane stalk. His consort Rati is riding merrily on a parrot. 

Inside the mandapa , there are representations of royal courtesans, amorous couples 
in numerous intimate and some even in obscene poses (Fig. 34). 

H. Jesters and folk scenes 

A comic touch is given to the whole treatment by the depiction of many royal 
clowns, folk-dancers, acrobatic scenes and curious-headed animals. There is the 
typical buffoon with his pot-belly, snub-nose and wide mouth in uncouth dance pose. 
His cross-belt, wristlets, armlets, and the stylish head-gear show that he was a court- 
jester (Fig. 35). Another dancing figure is playing on the drum Jalara tightly held 
close to his chest. Two other street-jesters, possibly gypsies, are having two small 
sticks or kolattams to play with one another. A gypsy girl or kuratti is depicted in 
a dance pose. She is wearing a skirt instead of a saree and has an elaborate coif- 
feur. Her little baby is tied close to her breasts in the typical fashion in which it is 
done even today by the gypsies. The palm-leaf basket which she holds in her 
hands is usually made by this gypsy class. 16 

I. Portrait-sculptures 

Representation of the mortals among the immortals was not popular in early 
sculptures. Hence, portrait-sculptures of kings and queens are extremely few in the 
Pallava and the Chola times. But in the Vijayanagar and the Nayak times, the 
artists came out of this obsession and introduced portrait-sculptures of kings, chief- 
tains etc., who patronised the temples. Thus the bronze-portraits of Krishnadeva 
Raya and his queens are found at Tirumalai. Similarly, the portrait-sculptures of a 
number of the Nayak rulers are found in Pudumandapam, Madurai. In our temple 
also, there is a good sprinkling of such figures, both in stone relief and bronze. But 
unfortunately, there are no labels and so they remain unidentified. Some tentative 
identifications are suggested here. 

In one of the pillars of the Kalyana-mandapa there is a royal figure. Since the 
mandapa was built by A].agia Manavaja Jiyar in the 16th century, this may be of the 
king Sadasiva or his predecessor Achyuta who visited this temple and performed 
mukia-tuldbhara (Fig. 36). Similarly, in the four-pillared mandapa near the entrance 
the representation may be that of Achyuta and his wife Varadambika. The portrait- 
figure of Alagia Manavala Jiyar is found in several places—in a niche at the top of 
the compound walls in the fourth prakara; in one of the pillars of the mandapa in 
front of the Tayar shrine and also in the Kalyana-mandapa . 

Iconography 173 

Raja Todarmal 

There are bronze figures of Raja Todarmal and his family at the entrance of the 
fourth prakara (Fig. 37). They are kept in memory of his services to the temple at 
a critical time. Of the three life-size statues, the central one is that of Todarmal 
and the other two are probably his mother Mata Mohan De and his wife Pita Bibi. 
He was a Hindu chieftain who served under Sadat-ulla-Khan, the first Nawab of the 
Carnatic. He has the beard, dress and turban in the Muslim fashion. He did nota- 
ble services to the Vishnu temples at Tirupati and Srirangam, where too his sta- 
tues are kept. 


1. Peria Tirumoii , v. 8. 3. 

2. 521 of 1919. ’ 

3. T.A. Gopinatha Rao : Elements , Vol. I, pp. 

4. Ibid. 

5. T.N. Srimvasan : A Handbook of South 
Indian Images (1954), p. 60. 

6. Ill, Iyarpa, 1, v. 53. 

7. T.A. Gopinatha Rao, op. cit., p. 251. 

8. EL. XXIV, p. 90 ff. 

9. I. Thousand. 

10. 493 of 1919. The images at Srlperumbudur, 
Srirangam and Melkote are believed to have 

been prepared during the last days of 

11. A similar scene is found in the Kalydna- 
mandapa at Hazara Rama temple, Hampi. 

12. J.O.R., Vol. 28, pp. 68-73. 

13. H.K. Sastri, South Indian Images (1916), 
p. 23. 

14. T.A. Gopinatha Rao, op. cit., pp. 132 ff* 
Plate XXXVI. 

15 Ibid. 

16. Similar gypsy sculptures are seen in the 
Minakshi temple, Madurai, Xndal temple 
at Srivilliputtur etc. 



General features 

The art of painting which was cultivated by the Pallava kings to a limited extent 
reached the zenith of glory under Rajaraja Chola the Great, as exemplified by the 
specimens available in the Great Temple, Thanjavur. Subsequent to this period the 
art seems to have suffered for want of patronage. But the art witnessed a revivalism 
and fresh impetus in the Vijayanagar epoch when a great spurt in the painting-art 
was noticeable in many of their temples. Numerous specimens are available at 
places like Somapalli in Chittoor District, Lepakshi 1 in Anantapur District of Andhra 
Pradesh, Hampi and Anagondi. 2 Kanchipuram which received ample patronage 
from the Vijayanagar monarchs like Krishnadeva Raya, Achyuta Raya, Sadasiva 
Raya, Venkata-II and others in architectural and sculptural spheres did not fail to 
attract the Vijayanagar painters also. Thus the specimens of the Vijayanagar paintings 
are to be seen in the Varadarajaswami temple and the Jain temple at Tiruparuttikun- 
ram at Kanchi. 8 But the former are comparatively less known and no separate 
study of them has been made so far. 

Section 1 


Places where paintings are found 

In the Varadarajaswami temple the paintings are found on the walls of the outer 
verandah surrounding the central shrine. The wall-space is divided into a number 
of crudely drawn compartments in which are accommodated the painted panels. 
The figures are large-sized and bold, but much defaced and darkened. Traces of 
vandalism are clearly seen, especially with the caste-mark on the paintings. 


The subject-matter of the paintings is religious. It is limited in range. Scenes 
from the sthalapurana of the temple, Alvars and Achdryas and the presiding deities of 
the various Divya-desas or sacred Vishnu temples are portrayed. Most of the paintings 
contain labels in Tamil and Telugu in the script which is clearly of the 16th ! century 
A.D. We shall study these paintings under three groups : 

(i) Scenes from the sthalapurana 

(1) Gajendra-Varada panel : Varada mounted on Garuda comes to rescue the 

elephant from the clutches of the crocodile. The elephant is shown crying for help 

176 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple— Kanchi 

with its uplifted trank. The small square below the elephant is the tank. 

(2) Varadaraja as he emerged in the resplendent Punyakoi i- vimana . 

(ii) Alvars and Acharyas 

At a few places Nammalvar and Ramanuja are depicted with characteristic poses. 
Nammalvar is depicted as at his birth-place Alvar Tirunagari (Tirunelveli District). 
He is seated in the yogic posture and on either side of him are shown in a smaller 
scale ail the other Alvars and Ramanuja. The idea that Nammalvar or Satagopa is 
the central figure among Srl-Vaishnava preceptors is well portrayed here. The label 
above mentions the place as ‘ Tirunagari-sthalam \ In another painting, the famous 
scene of the three saints ‘Mudal Alvars’ or ‘First Alvars’ meeting at a place called 
Tirukkolur and having a vision of Lord Tiruvikrama is depicted. 

(iii) The majority of the figures are those of the presiding deities of many of sacred 
Srl-Vaishnava centres (Divya-desas). The labels above mention details like the place- 
name, the presiding deity therein, the sacred tXrtha , the sage to whom the Lord gave a 
vision. Places beyond the borders of Tamilnad like Ahobilam in Andhra Pradesh 
and Naimi-saranyam in Upper India have also been included. Some of the places and 
deities portrayed are : 

1. Vishnu as anantasayi (reclining on the Serpent Ananta) from the place named 
Tirukkolur in Tirunelveli District of Tamilnad. It was the birth-place of Madu- 
rakavi-alvar, a direct disciple of Nammalvar. The Goddess Kolur-Valli Tayar is 
shown in a small inset-shrine on the right side of the main deity; on the left is 
Garuda in anjali pose. 

2. Vishnu in standing posture from Tirukkandiyur in Thanjavur District, on his 
right Komalavalli Tayar is shown seated in a shrine. 

3. Vishnu seated in ardhaparyankasana and flanked by Sri and Bhu, also seated, 
from the temple Tanjaimamanikkoil in Thanjavur; on the deity’s left stands a 
sage or rishi with the jata and the beard. The name of the Goddess is men- 
tioned as Sembakavalli Tayar. 

4. Vishnu as Narasimha from Ahobilam in Andhra Pradesh. Narasimha is depic- 
ted in different poses— seated in the yogic form in the utkutika posture; seated 
in padmdsana; seated with Lakshmi on his lap (Lakshmi-Narasimha form) and 
then at the extreme right, lower panel, he is depicted in the act of killing 
Hiranya. Depiction is vigorous and fine. 

5. One other painting near the steps is not clearly identifiable (Fig. 38). At the 
top are seen Chandra or the Moon-God, a sage and the Garuda— all in anjali 
pose probably worshipping the Lord. At the bottom, the Godde*ss is seated in a 
shrine. Brahma (three-headed) and another DSva, probably Indra, are worshipping 
the Goddess. The name of the place is not indicated. Probably it is Naimi- 
saranyam in North India. 

Besides these, Vishnu in reclining posture from places like Srirangam and Pad- 
manabapuram; in standing posture from places like Tirumalai is depicted at different 
places. The Dasavatarcts or the ten-incarnations of Vishnu have also been drawn. 
But most of them have been blurred and considerably spoiled. 

Painting and Other Arts 177 

Technique of painting 

Dr. Paramasivam, who has done some considerable scientific analysis of the Chola 
and Vijayanagar paintings at Thanjavur and other places, has observed that the paint- 
ings of the Vijayanagar times were generally done in the technique known as fresco - 
Secco as distinct from the fresco technique adopted by the Chola artists. 4 The former 
method consists in mixing the pigments with lime water and applying it over the wet 
plaster. The Chola paintings had to be done before the wet plaster could dry up. 
Hence, they required dexterous and swift hand on the part of the artist. But in the 
fresco-Secco process of the Vijayanagar days, the painting was done on the dry wall. 
This process did not require the skill and quickness in execution. As Dr. Paramasi- 
vam remarks, 'the five centuries that separate the Chola art from the Vijayanagar 
art mark a period when slow decadence set in not only over the art of painting, but 
also in the technique of the process of painting’. 5 

Colour-scheme and stylistic features 

Most of the colour has vanished or become dull and what remains can only be seen 
in patches. Still in some places the brightness of the colours especially in the golden 
ones is retained. Originally, the colours should have been strong. The colours discer- 
nible are red, yellow, light green and white. Light yellow has been used for the body 
complexion of the Alvars and acharyas while light green or blue is used for the body 
complexion of deities like Ranganatha. Red has been used for the garments, while 
golden colour has been used to denote jewels like necklaces, bangles etc. For the God- 
desses and the devotees, mineral colours seem to have been used. 

The background is adorned with simply drawn flowers, creepers and trees in white 
pigments against dark background. Ornamental exaggeration in depicting flowers and 
clouds is noticeable. The paintings are of course conventional and in a few places 
much stylised. But the majority of them are in good form and proportion having 
clear conception. Many of the figures have the feet directed to one side and there- 
fore shown in half or three-fourth profile — a characteristic feature of the Vijayanagar 
and the Nayak style. But the majority of the figures, as those of Nammalvar 
and other deities, are shown in full frontal view. The figures have 
somewhat pointed nose and elongated eyes whose upper eye-lid is drawn 
in. In a few instances such as the Gajendra-Varada panel and the Nara- 
simha panel there is an attempt to show movements. But otherwise, there is none 
of the graceful or rhythmic movement displayed in the earlier styles. Many of the 
features noticed in the sculptures of the Katyana-mandapa characterised these paintings 
also such as the fondness to exhibit the jewelled crown and other jewellery like neck- 
laces, armlets, anklets etc., elaborately folded draperies with hard, flat curves of their 
designs, heavy stress laid on the many curves in the flesh folds of the neck, belly etc. 

Date of the paintings 

These paintings display unmistakable kinship with the well-known Vijayanagar 
paintings at Lepakshi and Tirupparuttikunram at Kanchi itself. The theme as well 
as the style of the dress and the headgears of figures are similar to the sculptural 
traditions found in the Kalydna-mandapa of the temple and as such can be dated 
certainly to the middle of the 16th century A.D. The palaeography of the letters 

178 Sri Varadarajaswami T emple—Kanchi 

found in the labels clearly confirms this. Dr. N. Venkataramanayya is inclined to 
date the paintings of the Varadarajaswami temple slightly earlier i.e., the beginning 
of the 16th century. According to him they are ‘far superior to the Lepakshi paint- 
ings’ though he does not explain in what way they are. 6 Though some of the paintings 
of our temple compare well with those of Lepakshi, the majority of them depict the 
deities in their formal static pose. They display less flexibility and grace than those 
of Lepakshi or even Tirupparuttikunram. In the latter places attempts at portraying 
narrative panels depicting connected episodes are there, which are conspicuous by 
their absence in the paintings of Varadaraja temple. The colours are not so subdued. 
Hence, the paintings of the Varadarajaswami temple can at best be dated to the latter half 
of the 16th century and in style they seem to be closely following those of Lepakshi. 

Section 2 


The temple is also a treasure-house of wood-carvings. A number of vahanas or 
processional vehicles are all made of wood and covered even by copper-plate. The 
vahanas , such as the Garuda, Hanuman, elephant, horse, swan, lion, vyali etc., are 
massive in size and beautiful in form. These vehicles are mentioned even in an 
inscription datable to the 13th century A.D. 7 Later, the serpent vehicle was present- 
ed to this temple in about A.D. 1511 by the Madhva-guru, Vyasa-tirtha. 8 Again, 
in the beginning of the 17th century, Ettur Kumara Tatacharya is said to have pre- 
sented a number of vahanas, though the names are not specified. 9 There are also 
two beautiful palanquins made of wood. 

Temple car 

But the finest specimen of wood-work is the magnificent Ratha or the wooden- 
car of the temple. Nearly 60 ft. in height, it is a veritable temple on wheels. The 
wheels are about ten feet in diameter. Over the wheels is the basement of the 
Ratha which is schematically a prototype of the temple adhistana with all its 
different horizontal divisions — deeply recessed portions alternating with the pro- 
jecting bands— all intricately carved with multifarious patterns. 

Over the massive and richly decorated base is the portion corresponding to the 
wall (, pada ) portion of the temple. But here of course there is no wall but instead 
a cluster of wooden pillars. In the centre is a high pedestal where the deities are 
placed. Over the pillars is the prastara portion represented by the canopy or the 
superstructure in the form of a tapering vimana composed of diminishing tiers of 
wooden rafters. In short, the Ratha has all the complements of a shrine. 

We can have a closer look at the adhistana portion of the Ratha of this temple 
and note its plastic details. On the whole, it is made up of three recessed parts 
separated by two projecting bands or pattikas. The recessed portions are occupied 
by an array of carved panels, interspersed by turret-like pavilions. The panels pre- 
sent various deities and puranic themes all carved in high relief. At the bottom are 
a series of Bhuta-ganas or amazons who carry, as it were, the entire weight of the 
Ratha on their shoulders. In the next panel are seen the carved figures of seated 
Narasimha, GaiiSsa and Vishnu on Garuda, Rati and Manmatha. In the comers 
are the galloping horses with mounted warriors. In the next recessed panel are 

Painting and Other Arts 179 

shown a continuous array of figures of warriors on horse-back. In the corners 
are shown the rampant vyali. 

In the third and the last upper panel are carved a series of mitkrna or erotic 
figures including erotic poses of women. They evidently represent the gopis or the 
cowherd-women with whom little Krishna sported. In one place, Krishna is shown 
embracing a gopi who is carrying a pot on her head. 

The projecting horizontal pattilcas or bands that separate the panelled portions of 
the plinth are decorated in the form of expanded lotus-petals and a number of deco- 
rative bulbous pendants hang out from the bands. While the car is on the move, 
these bulbous pendants would swing against one another and create a plethora of 
bell-like sounds. 

It is one of the most beautiful temple-cars of South India. It bears close affinity 
to the decorative style adopted for the Kalyana-mandapa inside the Varadaraja temple. 
In fact, the motifs and themes of sculpture are almost the same and very characteris- 
tic of the style of the Yijayanagar period. In an inscription dated A.D. 1517, king 
Krishnadeva Raya is reported to have donated a car to this temple and it is not 
unlikely the present car was the one donated by him. 10 The wooden car has been 
protected well against weathering by covering it over by well-knit coconut leaves in 
the olden times and with the zinc sheets at present. 

Section 3 


The practice of adorning the images, particularly those used during processions, 
with numerous jewels, set with precious stones, encouraged the jewellers’ art to a 
considerable extent. We get several instances of both gold and jewels donated to 
the temple. Thus in A.D. 1053, a private individual donated golden ear-ornaments 
to the deity. 11 Naralokavira, the minister of Kulottunga-I, fixed a golden pinnacle 
over the shrine of Ranganatha within this temple. 12 In about A.D. 1126, 197J 
kalahju of gold and a golden vessel named sahasradhara (a plate with thousand holes 
used for bathing the deities) were donated by an individual. 13 In the 13th century, 
a military chieftain Kalingarayan presented to the deity a yajndpanta in gold. 14 In 
A.D. 1524, a Vijayanagar officer Rayasam Sripadayya donated a jewelled pendant to 
the God. 15 In S 1454 (A.D. 1532), king Achyutadeva Raya presented a conch, 
a discus and urdhvaptindram—all made of gold and studded with gems and dia- 
monds. 16 He also gave a pendant and a necklace set with gems and pearls. Among 
the gems mentioned are emerald ( pachai ), opalescent gem (vaiduryam), sapphire (ml am) 
and coral. 17 But some of the later ones are intact. For instance the famous Nlla- 
vandu-padakkam and other padakkam donated by Alagia-manavala-Jlyar in the 16th 
century are still the prized possession. Lord Clive presented a gem-set makara- 
kandi for the deity which displays rare workmanship. Another makarakandi noted 
for its exquisite beauty is known as Anantdchdr-makarakandi presented by Prativati 
Bhayankaram Anantacharya in the middle of the 19th century. In the same century, 
Mr. Place, the Collector of Chingleput district, in charge of the temple administra- 
tion, presented jewels used as head-ornaments. Several other devotees have given 
large presents to the temple so that today it possesses about 600 ornaments. These 

ISO Sri Varadarajaswami Temple— Katichi 

include, among other things, ear-ornaments, kavachas or coverings over the body, 
kintas or crowns of different shapes, conical, circular and bulbous, urdhvapundra t 
nose-ornaments for the Goddesses, necklaces, pendants etc. 


1. C. Sivaramamurti, Vijayanagar Paintings 
from the Temple tit Lepakshi , Vij. Sex 
Cen. Com. Volume, p. 75 ff. 

2. S. Paramasivam, The Vijayanagar Paintings , 
Vij. Sex Cen. Com. Vol., p. 87 ff. 

3. T.N. Ramachandran, The Tirupparuttikunram 
and its Temples. 

4. S. Paramasivam, op. cit., pp. 90-100. 

5. Ibid. Also see K.R. Srinivasan, South 
Indian Paintings in the Proceedings of the 
Indian History Congress (Allahabad, 1944) 
for the elucidation of the techniques in 
various periods. 

6. Dr. Venkataramanayya’s opinion as ex- 
pressed to Dr. S. Paramasivam personally 

is quoted by the latter in his article, “The 
Vijayanagar Paintings ” in the Vij. Sex 
Cen. Com. Volume, p. 92. 

7. S.I.T.I., I, No. 345. 

8. S.I.T.L, 370 of 1919. 

9. 475 of 1919. 

10. 641 of 1919. 

11. 519 of 1919. 

12. 473 of 1919. 

13. 516 of 1919. 

14. 430 of 1919. 

15. 413 of 1919. 

16. S.I.I., VII, p. 54. 

17. Ibid , No. 53. 


The following is a select list of inscriptions of the Varadarajaswami temple, classi- 
fied according to the dynasty, king and date. The last column gives references to 
the numbers to the inscriptions given in the Epigraphical Reports. References to the 
originals wherever published are also given. 


Date given in the 

Equivalents in 

Reference (unless otherwise 
stated, all inscription Nos. be- 
long to the Epigraphical Re- 
port for year 1919) 







32nd regnal 

A.D. 1050 


(A.D. 1018-1054) 



3rd year 

A.D. 1073 


(A.D. 1070-1120) 

36th year 

A.D. 1106 


43rd year 

A.D. 1113 

49 of 1893, S.I.I., 

IV, 862 

45th year 

A.D. 1115 






8th year 

A.D. 1126 


(A.D. 1118-1135) 

9th year 

A.D. 1127 


10th year 

A.D. 1128 

440, 520, 

S.I.T.I., I, 410 

11th year 

A.D. 1129 


17th year 

A.D. 1135 






3rd year 

A.D. 1149 


(A.D. 1146-1173) 





14th year 

A.D. 1177 

48 of 1893; 

(A.D. 1163-1179) 

S.I.I., IV, 861 


3rd year 

A.D. 1181 


(A.D. 1178-1216) 

4th year 

A.D. 1182 

477; S.I.T.I., 

I, 355 

182 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple — Kdnchi 

(A.D. 1216-1246) 

2 3 4 

ICth year 

A.D. 1188 

36 of 1893; 

IV, 849 

1 1 th year 

A.D. 1189 


12th year 

A.D. 1190 


13th year 

A.D. 1191 

517 and 620; 
S.I.T.I.. I, 367 

14th year 

A.D. 1192 

390, 487 and 493; 
S.I.T.I., I, 391 

I7th year 

A.D. 1195 

371 and 372; 
40 of 1893; 
S.I.I., IV, 853 

1 8th year 

A.D. 1196 


S.I.T.L, I, 409 

23rd year 

A.D. 1201 

348 and 360 

26th year 

A.D. 1204 

402, 452 

29th year 

A.D. 1207 


30th year 

A.D. 1208 


32nd year 

A.D. 1210 

521, S.I.T.L, 
I, 422 

34th year 

A.D. 1212 


35 th year 

A.D. 1213 

346, 417 and 589 

36 th year 

A.D. 1215 

435; S.I.T.I., III, 
Pt. II, 1205, 

Ibid , I, 428 

37th year 

A.D. 1215 

451; S.I.T.L, 
I, 396 

7th year 

A.D. 1223 


1 0th year 

A.D. 1226 


11th year 

A.D. 1227 

598, S.I.T.I., 
I, 383 

13 th year 

A.D. 1229 

404; S.I.T.I., 
I, 377 

14th year 

A.D. 1230 

367, 359, 385 
and 408 

1 5th year 

A.D. 1231 

432, 463 & 464 

16th year 

A.D. 1232 

427, 457 

17th year 

A.D. 1233 

395, 416, 460, 468 
S.I.T.L, I, 402, 404 

18th year 

A.D. 1234 

357, 392, 455, 594, 
S.I.T.L, I, 349 

19th year 

A.D. 1235 

345 and 627, 
S.I.T.L, I, 393 

20th year 

A.D. 1236 

437, 617, S.I.T.L, 
Pt. II, No. 1201 

Appendix 183 





21st year 

A.D. 1237 

358, 387, 400, 560, 
596, 621, 622; 
S.I.T.I., I, 402, 381 

22nd year 

A.D. 1238 

366, 391, 396,399, 
415, 555; 

S.I.T.I., I, 398,401 

23rd year 

A.D. 1239 

368, 388 

24th year 

A.D. 1240 

559, 570, 612, 615, 
661 ; S.I.T.L, III, 
Pt. I, 1200; 

Ibid , I, 416 

25th year 

A.D. 1241 

607, 609 

26th year 

A.D. 1242 

551, 552, 557, 610; 
SITI, I, 356, 408 

27th year 
28th year 

A.D. 1243 


29th year 

A.D. 1245 

352, 566, SITI, 
I, 426 

31st year A.D. 1247 




S 1127 

A.D. 1204-05 

35 of 1893; Ep. Ind., 
VII, p. 152 

2nd year 

A.D. 1225 

556, 563, SITI, 
I, 407, 417 

7th year 

A.D. 1230 

46 of 1893; 
SII, IV, 859 

Tikka-I alias 

S 1153 

A.D. 1231 




S 1157 

A.D. 1235 

34 of 1893; 
SIT, IV, 847 





alias Gandago- 
paladBva (c. A.D. 

21st year 

A.D. 1244 

387; SITI, I, 402 

Maxima Siddha-II 

3rd year 

A.D. 1253 



5th year 

A.D. 1255 


gopala (A.D. 

6th year 

A.D. 1256 



7th year 

A.D. 1257 


8th year 

A.D. 1258 

393; SITI, 1,341 

9th year 

A.D. 1259 

428, SITI, I, 359 

14th year 

A.D. 1264 

539; SITI, I, 414 

15th year 

A.D. 1265 

35 and 36 of 1890; 
SII, IV, 358, 359 

184 Sri VaradarSjaswami Temple — KdRchi 





16th year 

A.D. 1266-67 

539, 568, 637; 

17th year 

A.D. 1267 

SITI, I, 379, 414 
39 of 1893; 

18th year 

A.D. 1268 

SII, IV, 852 
491, 537; 

20th year 

A.D. 1270 

SITI, I, 413 

21st year 

A.D. 1271 

405, 501, 503 

23rd year 

A.D. 1273 


31st year 

A.D. 1281 



3rd year 

A.D. 1293 

603 of 1919 

(c. A.D. 1290-1316) 


11th year 

A.D. 1253 


(c. A.D. 1229-1278) 

14th year 

A.D. 1254-55 

450; SITI, I, 395 

15th year 

A.D. 1257 


S 1182 

A.D. 1260 

38 of 1890; SII, IV, 361 

19th year 

A.D. 1261 


20th year 

A.D. 1262 


Jatavaraan Sundara 

5th year 


A.D. 1256 

52 of 1893 and 488; 

Pandya-I (acc. 
A.D. 1251) 

15th year 

A.D. 1266 

SII, IV, 865 
485 and 486 

Jatavarman Vlra 

8 th year 

A.D. 1261 


Pandya (acc. A.D. 
1253 Co-regent) 

Vira Kulasekhara 



(A.D. 1268-1308) 

Maravarman Vik- 

6th year 

A.D. 1289 


rama PSntfya 

(acc. A.D. 1283) 

Ravlvarmali Kula- 

46th year 


A.D. 1312-13 

34 of 1890; Ep. Ind. 


IV, 145 

Appendix 185 






(A.D. 1295-1326) 

§ 1238 

A.D. 1316 

43 of 1893; Ep. Ind. 
VII, p. 128 ff 


Champa alias 

§ 1236 

A.D. 1314 

51 of 1893; Ep. Ind. 
Ill, p. 71 

(A.D. 1337-1360) 

7th year 
14th year 

A.D. 1344 
A.D. 1351 

604; SITI, I, 345 


(A.D. 1291-1342) 



A.D. 1335 

401; SITE, I, 397 
572, 573 


(c. A.D. 1364) 

§ 1288 
S 1296 

A.D. 1366 
A.D. 1374 

33 of 1890 
662; SITI, I, 375 

(A.D. 1377-1404) 

S 1300 

S 1307 
S 1325 

A.D. 1378 

A.D. 1385" 
A.D. 1404 

31 and 32 of 1810; 
SII, IV, 354, 355; 
SITI, I, 350 
SITI, I, 427 
661; SITI, I, 373 
-do- 412 

(A.D. 1447-1465) 

§ 1373 

A.D. 1451 
A.D. 1465 


37 of 1890 

(A.D. 1465-1485) 

§ 1393 

A.D. 1471 


Sajuva Narasimha 
(A.D. 1486-1491) 

§ 1408 
S 1409 

A.D. 1486 
A.D. 1487 

667; SITI, I, 351 
646; SITI, I, 348 

(A.D. 1505-1509) 

§ 1431 

A.D. 1509 

601; SITI, I, 411 

KrishnadSva Raya 

§ 1431 

A.D. 1509-10 


186 Sri Varadard jaswami Temple — KdZchi 


(A.D. 1509-1529) 

(A.D. 1529-1542) 

Sadasiva Raya 
(A.D. 1542-1576) 

2 3 4 

S 1433 

A.D. 1511 


S 1436 

A.D. 1514 


S 1438 

A.D. 1516 

474; 659; 
SITI, I, 392 

S 1438 

A.D. 1516-17 

660; SITI, I, 391 

S 1439 

A.D. 1517 

641; SITI, I, 384 

S 1443 

A.D. 1521 

412; SITI, I, 346 

§ 1446 

A.D. 1524 

375, 413 

S 1448 

A.D. 1527 


S 1449 

A.D. 1528 

439, 418 

£ 1450 

A.D. 1529 


S 1451 

A.D. 1529 


§ 1451 

A.D. 1529-30 

384; SITI, I, 357 

£ 1452 

A.D. 1530 

374, 449 and 646; 
SITI, I, 378 

£ 1453 

A.D. 1531 

481; SITI, 1 ,342 

£ 1454 

A.D. 1532 , 

472, 541, 543 to 546 
and 549, SII, IV, Nos. 
53 and 54 

£ 1455 

A.D. 1533 

511, 584, SITI, I, 406 

£ 1455 

A.D. 1534 


£ 1456 

A.D. 1535 


£ 1457 

A.D. 1536 

655, 536; SITI, I, 389 

£ 1459 

A.D. 1537-38 

422; SITI, I, 354 
and 376 

§ 1460 

A.D. 1538 

575 and 579 

£ 1461 

A.D. 1640 

373, 600; SITI, I, 358 

S 1462 

A.D. 1541 

577, SITI, I, 361 

S 1464 

A.D. 1542 

614; SITI, I, 353 

£ 1466 

A.D. 1544 

484 and 529 

§ 1467 

A.D. 1545 


£ 1467 

A.D. 1546 


§ 1469 

A.D. 1547 

527, 561 

§ 1470 

A.D. 1548 

482, 507, SITI, I, 365 

£ 1471 

A.D. 1549 

530, 532; 
SITI, I, 365 

§ 1472 

A.D. 1550 


§ 1473 

A.D. 1551 

504, 509, 580, 591 

§ 1474 

A.D. 1552 

496; SITI, I, 405 

£ 1475 

A.D. 1553 


£ 1477 

A.D. 1555 

653; SITI, I, 390 

£ 1480 

A.D. 1558 

535, SITI, I, 347 

Appendix 187 

12 3 4 

S 1482 

A.D. 1560 


S 1484 

A.D 1562 


S 1491 

A.D. 1570 



S 1493 

A.D. 1572 

380, SITI, I, 369 

(A.D. 1572-1585) 

S 1496 

A.D. 1574 

383; SITI, I, 343 

S 1504 

A.D. 1582 

479 and 588; 
SITI, I, 415 

S 1505 

A.D. 1583 



§ 1509 

A.D. 1587 

531; SITI, I, 423 

(A.D. 1586-1614) 

S 1510 

A.D. 1588 

587; SHT, I, 360 

S 1513 

A.D. 1591 


S 1514 

A.D. 1592 

381; SITI, I, 368 

S 1517 

A.D. 1595 

382; SITI, I, 370 

S 1527 

A D. 1605 


(A.D. 1630-1642) 

§ 1564 

A.D. 1642 

502 of 1919 


§ 1564 

A.D. 1642 


S 1581 

A.D. 1659 

567; SITI, I, 388 

§ 1582 

A.D. 1660 

540; 542 

§ 1599 

AD. 1677 

398; SITI, I, 419 

§ 1609 

A,D. 1687 


S 1632 

A.D. 1710 

639; SITI, III, 
Part I, 1207 

g 1636 

A.D. 1714 


Alamghir Pasha 

§ 1645 

A.D. 1723 

424; SITI, I, 386 

Muhammad of 


I. Contemporary Sources 

A. Epigraphical 

Ancient India, Bulletin of the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, 

Annual Reports of the Archaeological Survey of India. 

Annual Reports of the South Indian Epigraphy (1887-1945). 

Annual Reports of the Indian Epigraphy (1946 onwards). 

Epigraphia Indica volumes. 

Epigraphia Carnatica volumes. 

Indian Archaeology — A Review published by the Archaeological Survey of India, 
New Delhi. - 
South Indian Inscriptions. 

South Indian Temple Inscriptions, Ed. by T.N. Subramanian — 3 volumes (Madras, 
19 53 ). 

Topographical List of Inscriptions of Madras Presidency — 3 vols. Ed. by V. Ranga- 
chari (Madras, 1919). 

B. Traditional and Literary 

Ichdrya Campu by Venkatacharya published by Alagia-Manavala Nainar. 

Acharya Hridayam published with commentary by B.M. Purushottama Naidu 
(Madras, 1965). 

Desika-Prabhandam published with commentary by N.V. Srirama Desikan (Kumba- 
konam, 1944). 

Desika-Stdtras do 

Devadiraja-Panchagam by Doddayacharya. 

Devarajashtagam by Tirukkachi-nambi. 

Devaraja-mangalam by Manavala Mahamuni. 

Divyatfesa Sangraha Sldkamalika by Manavala Mahamuni. 

Divyasuri-charita by Garudavahana Panditar. 

Guruparamparai (Vadakalai version). 

GuruparamparaLPrabhavam by Pinbalagia-Perumal Jiyar (Ed. by S. Krishnamacharya, 

Hamsa Sandesam, Vedanta DSsika. . _ . _ , . 

Hastigiri Mahatmiyam , published with translation by Prativati Bhayankaram Annan- 

garacharya, Kanchi, 1953. , , , _ , „ . . , 

Jayakhya-Samhita with an interpolated chapter published by Embar Krishnamacha- 

riar (Baroda, 1931). 

Etindraprnava-prabhavam by Pillai Lokam Jiyar. 

Etiraja-Saptati by Vedanta Desika. . 

Kalingat tupparani by Jayankondar, published by A. Gopala Aiyar. 

190 Sri Varadarajaswami Temple — Kanchi 

Koil-Olugu (Srirangam Temple Chronicle) published by V.N. Hari Rao, Madras, 

Madura Vijayam by Gangadevi published by S. Thiruvenkatachari, Annamalai 
University Press. 

Manimekhalai published by U.V. Swaminatha Aiyar. 

Nalayira Divya Prabhandam. 

Nyayakulisa by Atreya Ramanuja, Ed. by R. Ramanujachari and K. Srinivasacharya 
(Annamalai, 1938). 

PattupattUt Ed. by U V. Swaminatha Aiyar (Madras, 1950). 

Paratwadi-Panchagam by Nadadur Ammal. 

Peria-tirumudiyadaivu by Kandadaiyappan. 

Prapanndmritam by Anantacharya. Also see English translation of extracts in 

S. K. Iyengar’s ‘Sources of Vijayanagar History’. 

Rahasyatrayasara by Vedanta Desika text with commentary by M.R. Rajagopala 
Aiyangar (Kumbakonam, 1956). 

Ramanuja-di vya-charitam by Pillai Lokam Jiyar. 

Satyavrta Mahatmiyam or Meivrta Manmiyam by Vedanta Desika. 

Tirumalai-Olugu (Tirumalai Temple Chronicle), pub. by K. Balasundara Naicker, 

T. T.D. 

Timenkata-Ula, Ed. by T.K. Palaniappa Pillai (J. Vol. XI, 1950). 

Tondaimandala Sadakam. 

Upadesaratnamalai by Manavala Mahamuni. 

Vaibhava-prakasika by Doddayacharya. 

Vaibhava-prakdsika of Alagia-manavala-Jlyar matha (unpublished Manuscripts lying 
in the matha). 

Varadaraja Pahchasat by Vedanta Desika. 

Varadarajastavam by Kurattalvar. 

—do— by Appayya Dikshitar. 

Varavaramuni-Sadakam, Erumbiappa. 

Velugotisvarivamsavali , Ed. by N.V. Ramanayya (Madras, 1939). 


Yapperungala Virutti by Gunasagara. 

II. Modern Works 

Acharya P.K. A Dictionary of Hindu Architecture (London). 

Annangaracharya P.B. Varadan Sannidi Varalaru (Tamil, Kanchi, 1955). 

Divyaprabhanda Divydrtha Dipikai (Tamil, Madras, 1921). 
Varavaramunindra-Ganthamalai (Kanchi, 1966). 

Purvacharya Vaibhavam (Kanchi, 1950). 

Appadorai A. Economic Conditions of South India (Madras, 1936), 

2 volumes. 

Aravamudan T.G. South Indian Portraits (London, 1930). 

Bhandarkar R.G. Vaishnavism, Saivism and Minor Religious Systems 

(Strassburg, 1913). 

Balasubramanian S.R. Four Chola Temples (Bombay, 1963). 

Barret Douglas Early Chola Bronzes. 

Select Bibliography 191 

Basham A.L. The wonder that was India (London, 1954). 

Brown Percy Indian Architecture (Buddhist and Hindu), 3rd Edn. 

Cambridge History of India (1929), Vol. V. 

Crole C.S. Manual of Chingleput District (Madras, 1879). 

Cultural Heritage of India, Ramakrishna Mission, Calcutta, 2 Vols. 

Das Gupta S. 

Derret Duncan 
Desikacharya N. 

Duboil, Abbe J. 
Dubreuil J. 

Fergusson James 
Foster W. 

Gopalan R. 

Gopinatha Rao, T.A. 

Govindacharya A. 

Gravely F.H. and T.N. 

Gravely F.H. 

Hari Rao Y.N. 

Harle James 
Hayavadana Rao C. 

Heras Rev. Fr. 

A History of Indian Philosophy (Cambridge, 1952). 

The Hoysalas (Madras, 1957). 

The Origin and Growth of Sri Brahma Tantra Parakala 
Mutt (Bangalore, 1949). 

Dupleix and Clive, London, 1920. 

Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies. 

The Dravidian Architecture (Pondicherry, 1920). 

History of India and Eastern Architecture. 

English Factories in India from 1618 (1906-27), 2 vols. 
(London, 1910). 

History of Pallavas of Kahchi (Madras, 1928). 

Elements of Hindu Iconography (Madras, 1914). 

History of Sn-Vaishnavism. 

The Holy Lives of the Alvars (Mysore, 1902). 

The Life of Ramanujacharya (Madras, 1906). 

Three Main Styles of Temple Architecture (Madras, 1934). 
Catalogue of Hindu Metal Images in the Madras 
Government Museum. 

The Gopuras of Tiruvannamalai (Madras, 1959). 

The Srirangam Temple (Tirupati, 1967). 

Temple Gateways in South India, Oxford, 1963. 

Mysore Gazetteer— 5 volumes (1930). 

History of Mysore — 2 vols. (Bangalore, 1943). 

The Aravidu Dynasty of Vijayanagara (Madras, 1927). 

History and Culture of Indian People. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay, 10 vols. 

Jagadisa Aiyar P.V 
Kanakasabhai V. 
Kramrisch Stella 

South Indian Shrines. 

The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago (Madras, 1904). 
Hindu Temple, 2 vols. (Calcutta, 1946). 

Vishnu Darmottara — English translation. 

Krishnaswami Aiyangar Sources of Vijayanagar History. 

A History of Tirupati (1952), 2 vols. 

Early History of Vaishnavism in S. India (Madras, 1920). 
South India and Her Muhammedan Invaders (Madras, 

Ancient India and South India and^Culture, 2 vols. (Poona, 

South Indian Images of Gods and Goddesses (Madras, 

The Hindu Conception of the Deity as Culminating in 
Ramanuja (London, 1934). 

Love H.D. Vestiges of Old Madras, 3 vols. (1913). 

Krishna Sastri H. 

Kumarappa Bharatan 

192 Sri VaradarBjaswatni Temple — Kanchi 

Longhurst J.H. 

Mahalingam T.V. 

Nagaswami R. 
Nilakanta Sastri K.A. 

Nilakanta Sastri K.A. 
and Venkataramanayya 
Orme Robert 

Otto Schrader 
Pillai K.K. 

Raghava Aiyangar M. 

Rajan S.R. 
Dikshitar Y.R. 
Ramachandran T.N. 
Raman K.V. 

Rangacharya K. 
Saletore, B.A. 

Sarkar D.C. 

Sathianata Aiyar R. 

Satyanata Singh 
Sethu Pillai R.P. 
Sewel Robert 

Sivaramamurti C. 

Smith Daniel 
Soundara Rajan K.V. 
Srinivasan K,R. 
Srinivasan P.R. 

The Humpi Ruins (Madras, 1917). 

Studies in Sanskrit Texts on Temple Architecture (Annama- 
lainagar, 1949). 

Administration and Social Life under the Vijayanagar 
(Madras, 1940). 

Economic Life in the Vijayanagar Empire (Madras, 1951). 
Ed. Seminar on Inscriptions (Madras, 1968). 

Cholas (Madras, 1955). 

Studies in Chdla History and Administration (Madras, 

A History of South India (Madras, 1958). 

The Pandyan Kingdom (London, 1929). 

Foreign Notices of South India (Madras, 1939). 

Further Sources of Vijayanagar History— 3 vols. (Madras, 

History of the Military Transactions of the British Nation 
in Indostan (Madras, 1861). 

Introduction to the Pancharatra (Adyar, 1916). 

The Sucmdram Temple (Madras, 1953). 

Araichi Toguti (Tamil, Madras, 1964). 

Alvargal Kalanilai. 

Srirangam, Alvars and Acharyas (Tamil, Srirangam, 1953). 
Studies in Tamil Literature and History (Madras, 1936). 

Tirupparuttikunram and its temples (Madras, 1934). 

The Early History of the Madras Region (Madras, 1959). 
Some Aspects of Pandyan History (Madras, 1972). 

The Sri-Vaishnava Brahmanas (Madras, 1931). 

Social and Political Life in the Vijayanagar Empire, 2 vols. 
(Madras, 1934). 

Successors of the Satavahanas (Calcutta, 1939). 

The Nayaks of Madurai (Madras, 1924). 

Studies in the History of Tondaimandalam. 

The Political and Cultural History— 3 vols. (Madras, 1952). 
Vedanta Desika (Varanasi, 1958). 

■Drum Perum (Tamil, Madras, 1946). 

List of Antiquarian Remains in Madras Presidency, 2 vols. 
(Madras, 1882, 1884). 

A Forgotten Empire (London, 1924). 

The Historical Inscriptions of Southern India (1932). 

The Chola Temples (New Delhi, 1960). 

South Indian Bronzes. 

Pancharatra Prasada-Prasada (Madras, 1963). 

Indian Temple Styles (New Delhi, 1972). 

Pallava Architecture. 

South Indian Bronzes (Madras Museum Publ). 

Select Bibliography 193 

Srinivasa Aiyangar M. Tamil Studies (Madras, 1914). 

Srinivasan T.N. A Handbook of South Indian Images (Tirupati, 1954). 

A Pilgrim Guide to Sri Devarajaswami Devasthanam, 
Kanchi, 1957. 

Srinivasachari C.S, A History of Gingee and its Rulers (Annamalai, 1943). 
Anandarangam Pillai (1940). 

Srinivasachari P.N. The Philosophy of Visishtadvaita (Adyar, 1943). 
Subramania Ayyar Historical Sketches of Ancient Deccan (Madras, 1917). 
Thurston Edgar Castes and Tribes in South India. 

Tyagaraja Aiyar A.V. Indian Architecture, 2 vols. (1930). 

Venkatarama Iyer K.R. The Hoysalas in Tamil Country. 

Venkataramanayya N. The Origin of South Indian Temples. 

Studies in the Third Dynasty of the Vijayanagar (Madras, 

Venkatesa Aiyar History of Ahobilam Mutt. 

Vriddagirisan The Nayaks of Tanjore (Annamalai, 1942). 

Vijayanagara Sex Centenary Commemorative Volume. 

Viraraghavachariar History of Tirupati, 2 vols., Tirupati. 


Yamunacharya M. Ramanuja’s Teachings in His Own Words (Bombay, 1963). 

Annangaracharya P.B. 
Devanathachari K. 
Govindacharya A. 

Mahalingam T.V. 
Pillai K.K. 

Raman K.V. 

Ramanujacharya R. 

III. Articles in Journals 

Satsampradaya-Sarartha-raksha, Nos. 212-213 (Tamil), 
Sri Ramanujan (July 1966). 

Sri-Vaishnavism and its caste-marks, A.J.M.S. IV, 
pp. 125-139. 

Tenkalai and Vadakalai — JRAS, 1912, pp. 173-77. 
Ashtadasabhedas, JRAS, 1910. 

Artha Panchaga of Pillai Lokacharya, JRAS, 1900. 

A Ramayana Panel at Conjeevaram, JOR, 28, 1958-59, 

pp. 68-73. , _ , • i 

The Mithuna in Indian Art, Transactions of Archaeological 

Society of South India, Madras, 1957. 

Inscriptions of Sri Varadarajaswami temple, Kanchipuram 
in Seminar on Inscriptions. Ed. by R. Nagaswami (Madras, 

T r-J 

Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyan, Bharatiya Vidya. 

Uttaravedi concept in the architecture of Sri Varadaraja 

lple, Kanchi, Bharatiya Vidya. 

igraphical Gleanings on Srivaishnava Acharyas, Prof. 
A.N. Sastri Fel. Vol. (1971). 

reya Ramanuja : His life and works-Sn Annamalai 
ettiar Comm. Vol. (1941). 

Souvenir, Bombay, 1966. 

194 Sri Varadarajasw&mi Temple — Kanchi 

Ramamijam B.V. 
Rangacharya V. 

Saletore B.A. 
Sathianathier R. 
Sivaramamurti C. 
Somasundara Desikar 
Soundara Rajan, K.V. 

Srinivasan, K.R. 

Stein, Burton 

Subramaniam R. and 
Raman K.V. 
Subramanian T.N. 

Divyasnricharitam, JIH, XIII, p. 190 ff. 

Life and Times of Sri Vedanta Desika, JB3RAS XXIV, 
p. 293 ff. 

History of Sri-Vaishnavism, QJMS, VII, 1916-17. 
Vaishnavism in the Vijayanagar times, D.R. Bhandarkar 
Com. Vol., pp. 183-196. 

The Kadavaraya Problem (Dr. S.K. Iyengar Com. Volume 
1936, pp. 213 ff). 

Paintings from Lepakshi (Journal of Indian Society of 
Oriental Art, 1937). 

Sambuvarayas of Kanchi, Indian History Qly. VI, pp. 

The Matrix of South Indian Architecture, J.LH. XLIII, 

Kaustubha Prasada— New Light on Jayakya Tantra, JOR, 
XVII (1967). 

The Kaleidoscopic Activities of Mediaeval Temples in 
Tamilnad, QJMS, XL1I, pp. 87-101. 

The Last of the Chola Temples, JISOR XVI (1948). 

Some Aspects of Religion as Revealed by Early Monuments 
and Literature of the South — JMU XXXII. 

South Indian Paintings in the Proceedings of the Indian 
History Congress (Allahabad, 1944). 

The Economic Function of a Mediaeval South Indian 
Temple — The Journal of Asiatic Studies, XIX (1960), 
pp. 163-176. 

The Terracotta Figurines from Kanchi Excavations 1962, 
JIH, XLV (Aug. 1967). 

A Note on the date of Ramanuja, S.I.T.I., III. 

IV. Administrative Reports, Judicial Cases etc. 

(a) Fifth Report from the Select Committee on the affairs of the East India 
Company, Madras submitted in 1812 (published in Madras, 1863). 

(b) Superintendent Narahari Rao’s report on the caste-marks of the Temple dated 
17-1-1823 (Filed as Exhibit in A.S. 6 and 7 of 1912 in Chingleput Court). 

(c) Ramaswami Maistry’s Report on the temple dated 3rd Aug. 1827 (Filed as 
Exhibit m Suit A.S. 13 and 14 of 1854 in Chingleput Court). 

(d) Superintendent Kasiram’s Report (1850) (Filed as Exhibit in Suit No. 170 of A.S. 
212 of 1909, Chingleput Court). 

(e) All India Reporter 313, Madras (covers the cases of the temple from 1828 to 

*(f) Madras Weekly Notes, 3915. 

(g) Madras Law Journal Volumes. 

(h) Judgements and Exhibits in the cases in the Chingleput Munsif and Sub Courts. 



Abdul Hasan Qutub Shah, 36 
Abdulla Khan, 36 
Abdulla Kutub Shah, 35, 36 
Abhidastavam , 72 
Abhinava-varanasi, 22 

Abhisheka mandapa , 14, 47-48, 
78, 87, 148/151-152, 168 

Achdrya Champu, 72 
A chary a-Hriday am , 7, 70, 74 
Achdryas , 61-65, 167, 171, 176 
Achyutappa Nayaka, 32 
Achyuta Raya, 29, 30, 31, 49, 
50,79, 81, 100, 107, 122, 
139, 175, 179 

Achyutardyabhyudayam , 29 
Aiaikkalapattu , 71 
Adaippam Surappa-Nayaka, 

Adaippan Sinna Sevappa Na- 
yaka, 32 
Addanki, 27 
Adhirajendra, 13 
Adhisi&na, 148, 149, 150, 1 51, 
152, 154, 155, 157 

Adhdpadma, 151 
nam , 81 

Adhyayana-utsayam , 106-107 
Adi Atti-Varada, 5, 51 
Adikarana Sarclvali , 73 
Adisesha, 46, 168 
Aditya 1, 12 

Adi Van SafagOpa Jlyar, 80 
Advaita, 64 
Adyayandtsavam , 82 
Agama, 5 
Agni , 106 
Ahmad Shah, 27 
Ahobilam, 80, 176 
Ah6bila-maf/ra (Van-Satagopa 
matham ), 80, 138 
Airavata, 19 
Akkamma, 31 

Akkanna, 36, 38 
Akshabyamuni, 71 
Alagiya-manavala Battar, 


Alagia-Manavala-Battar Vara- 
* dayyangar, i24 
Aligia Manavala Jlyar, 6, 47, 
49, 53, 56, 76-78, 79, 80, 87, 
88, 112, 122, 123, 130, 153, 
154, 179 

tha, 76, 78,88, 112, 137 
Alagia-manavala Namar, 7, 

Alagiya-manavala perumal 
Nainar, 70 



Alagiyamanavalini, 13 
alvar, 13 

Alagia Singar (Narasimha), 


Alagiya-Perumal Tatan, 133 
Alamgir Pasha Mahmad, 38 
Alampakkam, 159 
Atappirandtin-Sandi, 25 
Alavandar, 46, 61, 63, 64, 167 
Alavatta kainkarya, 61 
Aliya Ramaraja, 31 
Aliyar Ramaraya, 31 
Allalanatha, 8, 22 
Allasana Peddanna, 80 
Allauddin Khilji, 24 
Alvars, 3, 7, 8, 47, 70, 167, 
171, 376 

Alvar Tirunagari, 73, 176 
AlvSr Tirunal, 102 
Amalanadipiran, 70 
Ammaiappan Kunnudaipper- 
umal ( alias Vikrama 

Chola Sambuvarayan), 25 
Ammaiappan Kannudaippe- 
rumal (alias Vikramasola 
Sambavaraya), 16, 17 
Ammanna Dandanayaka, 18 
Amman shrine, 153 

Amudanar, 74, 99 
Amuktamalyada , 80, 120 
Anagondi, 175 
Anandalvan, 72 
Aoandam Pillai Iyengar, 82 
Anangabhima 111,22, 23, 139 
Ananta, 166 
Anantacharya, 82 
Anantalvar, 46, 131, 163, 166 
Anantalvar shrine, 148, 152 
Anantampillai, 130 
Anantapur, 175 
Anantarudra-Vishaya, 22 
Anantasaras tank, 5, 51 
Anantasuri, 70 
Anantavarman, 33 
Anantavarma Mahita-deva, 

Anapota II, 27 

Andal, 45, 46. 70, S3, 104, 107, 
* 151, 165, 167 

Andhra, 1, 12, 15, 65, 80, 139, 
175, 176 

Annangarachariar, 72 
Annamacharya, 81 
Annan Varadayyangar, 124 
Aniarala, 149, 151, 153, 154, 
155 , 159 

Antarudravishya, 139 
Anushtdnakulam , 107 
Apatsahayanallur, 23 
Appanna, 18 
AppaRao, 125 
Appayya Dikshitar, 9, 43, 82 
Aramdu-nirppZtn , 140 
Araiyars , 114 
Arakonam, 1,2 
Aran gam, 59 
Aravldn,30, 31, 32 
Araviti, 31 

Arayirappddi ( Six-thousand ), 

Archa , 88, 95 

Archakas (Bhatt Achdryas), 113 

196 Index 

Arch3vat&ra , 95 
Architecture, 147-160 
Arcot, 1, 37, 38 
Ar ikcsavan-/mz t ha, 137 
Annagon, 34 
Arpakkam, 139 
Arthur Freeze, 125 
Arulakara, 14 

Arulala (Davaraja), 65, 71, 

Arulalanatha, 8 
Arulalapperumal, 7, 8, 133 
Arulalapperumal Emberum- 
anar, 65, 131 

Arulalapperumal temple, 19, 
22, 24, 27, 46 

Arulalapriyan, 119 
Arulappa^u, 85, 88, 121, 133 
Arumdlidevan. 133 
Arumolinangai, 143 
Arupagiri Perumal Nllagan- 
garayan, 22 

Ashtabhujam temple, 3, 71 
Ashtabhujaswami (Vishnu), 5 
AshtabhujaswSmi temple, 129 
Ashtasldki, 73 
Astadiggajas , 73 , 75, 77 
Atreya Ramanuja ( alias 
Applllar), 67, 68 
Atfan Jlyar {alias Srinivasa- 
dasa), 38, 85-86, 89, 90, 
124, 125 
Atti, 5 

Attigiri, 6, 71 
Attigiri Arulalar, 6 
Atti-varadar, 5, 6 
Attiyur, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 
59,60, 87, 118, 119, 129, 
131, 144 

Attiyur-alvar, 7, 8 
Attiyuran, 3, 7 
Aurangazeb, 36, 37, 38, 85 
Avarana devatas , 163 
A vat dr a, 95 
Ayatasra , 149 
Ayudhapurushas , 163, 171 
Ayyankulam (Tatasamudram), 

Ayyan-Settiar, 133 
(Rayasam) Ayyapparasayyar, 


Badami, 1 
Bahmini(s), 27, 28 

Balarama, 59 

Bdlaprabodini {Amara), 82 
Balfour, 124 

Ballaia III, 24, 25, 47, 102 
Ballala IV, 25 
Sana, 17 
Bangalore, 1 
Batfar, 66, 69 
Bellary, 33 
Beta, 19 
Beta XI, 19 
Bhadra, 13 
Bhadrakdlas , 150 
Bhagavata(s), 73, 95, 168 
Bhagavata purdna , 171 
Bhdgavat Gita , 63, 66 
Bhagavat-Vishya parampara, 

BhaktU 64, 95 
Bhdga-mandapa, 7 
Bhu, 176 
Bhudam, 50, 106 
Bfmdattalvar, 3, 4, 7, 8, 12, 56, 
59, 64, 87 
Bhu-devL 102, 164 
Bhu-stuti , 71 
Bhutam, 59 

Bijapur, 28, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 
37, 84 

Brahma, 9, 101, 159, 160, 176 
Brahmadeya, 129 
Brahmanic, 62 
Brahmasutras, 63 
Brahmatantra-svatantra Jlyar, 
67, 73, 137 

Brahmotsava, 102, 103, 108 
Brighu, 9 

Brihadlsvara temple, 147 
Bukka, 26 
Bukka I, 26 
Bukka II, 26 

Carnatic, 11, 12, 35, 36, 37, 38, 

Carpenters, 116 
Ceylon, 12, 13, 16, 27 
Chakrattalvar, 163, 166 
Chakrattalvar shrine, 52, 

Chakravartiar, 131 
Chalikyadeva Chdla-Maha- 
raya, 31 

Chaiukya(s) 1, 13, 18 

Champa, 25 
Chandamdrutam, 82 
Chandra (moon), 176 
Chandragiri, 27, 28, 29, 31, 

32, 33, 34, 83, 87, 123 
Chandraprabha temple, 159 
Chaturmdsa-Ekddasi, 81 
Chellappa, 29, 30 
Chenna, 34 
ChennayyangSr, 52 
Chera country, 21 
Chetfiar, 79 

Chidambaram, 5, 14, 38, 43, 
82, 83 

Chikkayyaraja, 31 
Chingleput, 1, 2, 12, 20, 25, 26, 
28, 33,34,37,38, 39, 126, 
141, 142 

Chinna Krishna, 33 
Chinna Tirumala-ayyangar, 

Chinna Timmayyadeva-Maha- 
raja, 31 

Chitramandapa , 12 
Chittoor, 19, 1 75 
Ch5la(s), 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 
14, 15 t 16, 17,18,19,20, 
21,22,23,24, 25, 26, 29, 
63.87,108,117, 118, 121, 
136, 139, 143, 144, 147, 148, 
150, 152, 157, 163, 165, 167, 

Cholendra Simha, 16, 46 
Clive, 38, 179 
Coimbatore, 25, 71 
Coins, 143 
Conjeevaram, 36 
Coromandel, 26, 28 
Cuddappah, 17, 23, 33 
Cuttack, 22 


Dalavdy-toppu, 108 
Damarkottam, 81, 139 
Damarla Ayyappa, 34 
Damarla Venkatappa, 12, 34 
Dantivarman, 159 
Danvantri(n), 45, 167 
Darmayya, 124 
Dasa-nambis , 117-118, 129, 


Dasavatara scenes, 170-171 
Davatiotsavam , 52 
Daud Khan, 37 
Deccan, 25, 30, 33, 37 

Index 197 

Delhi, 25 
Dcva-Chocja, 31 
Devaddna(m ), 15, 139 
Dcvaddsis , 136 
Devagiri, 24 
Devapperumal, 8, 9, 27 
Devapperumal Tatan, 133 
Dcvappiran Varadaraja Batfar, 

Devaradiydl, 136 
Devaraja, 8 

Devardja-mangalam , 9, 74 
Devarajamuni, 65 
D'evarUjasiagam , 8 
Devaraya I, 26 
Devaraya II, 27 
Devaraya Wodeyar, 84 
Devika, 18 
Dhanurmdsa , 107 
Dharmakarthas, 125 
Dharmaparipalan (alias Raja- 
dhiraja Malaiyarayan), 98 
Dharmayya, 35 
Dipaprakasar temple, 71 
Divyadesa(s), 3, 59, 87 
Divya-prabhandam(s ), 63, 64, 
74, 98-99, 101, 106, 108, 
112, 135 

Doddayacharya (Mahacha- 
rya), 72, 82, 103 

Dorai Thottam, 52-53, 108 
Dost Ali, 38 

Dravidamnaya, 66 
Drdvidopanishad-sdra, 71 
Draupadi, 71 
Dvaita, 137 
Dviradachalanfitha , 6 
Dvitala , 149 
Dvitala vimana , 152 
Dwdrapalakas , 154 
Dwarasamudra, 25 

Eastern Cbalukya, 13 
' Eastern Ganga, 22, 23 
Eastern gopura, 157 
East India Company, 12, 34, 
35, 38, 39, 122, 124, 125 
Echchaya-Dannayakkar, 102 
Edirilisola Sambuvarayan Ala- 
ppirandan ( alias Rajaraja 
Sambuvarayan), 98 
EkSmresvarar temple, 2, 3, 5, 
29,30, 38, 54, 112, 129, 

Ekangi, 79 
Ekatala , 154 

Ekoji (alias Venkaji), 36 
Elambilakkatlu-Nayakar, 47 
Embar, 66 

Emberumanar (Ramanuja), 65, 
75, 82, 83 
Engal Alvan, 69 
Engal Alvar, 69 
Epnayiram temple, 31 
Erasiddha, 19 
Erumbiappa, 74 
Eltur, 82, 83 

E;tur Immadi Kumara Tiru- 
malai Tatacharya, 83, 84, 
86 , 88 

Ettar Immadi Lakshmi 
Kumara Tatacharya, 86 
Ettur Kumara Tatacharya, 32, 
33, 48, 84, 123, 124, 178 
Et|ur Kumara Tirumalai Ta- 
tacharya, 83, 84, 86, 88 
Eyilkotfam, 4 
Eyilnadu, 4 

Festivals, 100-108 
Fifth Prakara, 15 
First prdkSra, 44, 149-150 
First Tirtham , 121 
Fort St. George, 34, 35, 36, 

Four-pillared mandapas , 53 
Fourth prakSra, 49-54, 154- 

French, 12 
Friday mandapa, 52 

Functionaries and history of 
management, 111-126 


Gadyakarnamrta, 17 
Gajapatis, 28, 29 
Gajasimha, 31 
Gajendra, 6, 71 
Gajendragirinatha, 6 
Gajendra-moksha, 9 
Gajendra-Varada, 175 
Ganapati, 20, 22, 23 
Gandagopala(n), 6, 20, 133, 
135, 143 

GandagopSla-madai, 24 
mangalam, 20 

Gandagopalan-sandi, 19 
Gapesa, 45, 163, 166-167 
Ganga(s), 1, 13, 15, 16, 22 
Gangadevi, 26 

Gangaikondacholapuram, 147 
Gangaikonddn-mandapa, 108 
‘Ganga-kulotbhava’, 16 
Ganga-mandapa(m), 15, 143 
Gangavadi, 13, 14 
Garbagnha, 149, 159, 160 
Garuda(s), 46, 150, 152, 166, 

Garuda shrine, 46 
Garuden-mel-Alagiyar, 133 
Garudotsavam, 103 
Gatyatrcya, 64 
GhatiKdSy I 

Ghalikastanamammal (alias 
Varadakavi), 80 
Ghat$i-nulamba Bhajabala- 
vlra Abomallarasa, 15 
Gingee, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 

Goa, 1, 13 
Goda, 45 
Goldsmiths, 117 
Golkonda, 12, 33, 34, 35, 36, 
37, 38, 84, 124 

Gomadattar, 131 
Gomatam Chakravarti, 88 
Gomatam Tirumalacharya, 

Gopanna, 26 
Gopinayaningaru, 31 
Goppayya Dandanayaka, 18 
Gopura(s ), 2, 3, 14, 54, 87, 
148, 150, 151, 154, 157, 158 
Gottimukku Tipparasar, 29 
Govinda AyyaDgar, 81 
Govindacharya, 85, 121 
Govinda Jiyar, 63 
Govindaraja, 82 
Govindaraja temple, 81 
Grain-measures, 142-143 
Granite, 3 
Greater Kanchi, 4 
GrTva, 150, 155, 157, 158 
Guga, 70 
Guntur, 33 

Guruparampara(s)y 7, 61 

Guruparamparaiy 15, 44, 46, 
51, 63, 65, 67, 69, 71 
Guruparamparai prabhsvam,48 

IPS Index 


Hamavira, 27 

Hampi, 32, 87, 153, 169, 175 

Hanumadvimsati, 83 
Hanuman, 83 
Hanuman temple, 84, 105 

Hdra, 150 
Hari, 14, 52 
Harihara, 33, 54 
Harihara II, 26 
Harmya, 150 
‘Hasti Bhushana’, 6 

Hastigiri, 6, 7, 8, 9, 60, 70, 95, 
102, 150, 158-159 

Hastigiri-mahdtmiyam , 9 
Hastigirinatha, 8 
Hastipura, 6, 8 
Hastisaila, 6 
Hasti Satlesa, 19 



Rama temple, 153, 

Hiranya, 176 
Hoysala(s), 1, 8, H. ,6 . 

18, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 63 
Hyderabad, 38 
Hyder Ali, 12, 39 

Iconography, 163-173 
Idal, 148, 151, 152 
Ua {Thirty six-thousand), 64, 

* 69, 73, 74 
fdu-Pramanatirat tu, 74 
Ikkeri, 33 

Ilaialvan tCalingarayan, 16, 
52, 65, 66, 179 
Immadi Narasimha, 28 
Irayiravan Pallavaraiyan {alias 
Mummudi-Solappan), 14 
Jgvara Nayaka, 28, 29 
Iswara-samhita , 95 
Iyal , 99 

lyal Ghost i, 64 

Jagati, 149, 150, 151, 152, 

Jain temple, 175 
Jalat-ud-din, 25 
Jambukesvaram, 5 
Jatavarman Sundara Pancjya, 
'20,21,25, 155 

Jatavarman Sundara P&ndya 

I, 22, 23 

Jatavarman Sundara Pandya 

II, 17, 20, 23, 24_ 
Jatavarman Vira Pantlya, 23 
Jayakesi, 13 

Jayakhya-samluta , 95, 96, 113 
i, 4, 

Jayangondar, 13 
Jayasimha, 13 

Jesters and folk scenes, 172 

Jewellery, 179-180 
Jlyars, 111-112, 122 


Kadambur, 5 
Kadappai Siddharaja, 32 
Kadava, 17, 21, 22 
Kadavan Kumaran, 22 
Kadavaraya(s), 11, 16, 21 
Kailasanatha temple, 2, 3, 26 

Kakasura, 71 

Kakatiya(s), 2, 11, 17, 20, 23, 
24, 25 
Kdl , 152 

Kalahasti, 19, 29, 34 
Kala'sa{s), 150, 152, 154, 157 
Kalattur-kotlam, 139 
Kalmga, 13, 14, 15 
Kalingarayan, 16, 52, 65, 66, 

Kalin gar-k5n, 14 
Kalingattupparani, 13 
Kalinga War, 12 
Kalyanakoti vimana, 48, 83, 

KalySna mardapa , 9, 53, 78, 
87, 148, 149, 154, 156, 163, 

* yh 1 rC\ -inn 1 "70 

Kamakshi temple, 2, 38, 129 
Kampana I, 26 
Kampana II, 26 
Kampara Udaiyar, 54 
Kampayya Dannayaka, 25 
Kachi, 3, 4, 6 
Kachipedn, 6 

Kanakku-pillai, 120 
Kanchi(puram) — 

location, 1-2 

origin of name, 3-9 
physical features, 2-3 
political background, 11- 

Kmchi Divya Desa Sangraha 
Slokamalika , 54 
Kanchipuram, 1, 4, 6, 7, 12, 
13, 17, 22, 23, 28, 30, 36, 
37, 38, 79, 82, 85, 115, 121, 
141 , 175 

Kanchipurattu Tiruvattiyur, 

Kandadai, 131 
Kandadai Amna, 79 
Kandadai Annan (Koil) 74, 

Kandadai Mudali-Andan, 63 
Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyan, 
78-80, 88, 130, 132, 138 
Kandadai Ramanuja Ayyan- 
gar, 77, 122, 138 
Kandadai Ramanujadasan, 79 
Kandadai Ramanuja Iyengar, 

Kankanippdrs, 140 
Kannada country, 32 
Kannanur, 18 

Kanta, 149, 150, 151, 152, 155 
Kanyakumari, 119 
Kapilesvara Gajapati, 27 
Kapotas , 152, 153, 157, 158 
Kappalur, 48 
Karanatfdn, 118, 119-120 
Kariamanikaperumal shrine, 

15,46,148, 151 
Kariamanikkavaradar shrine, 
15, 46* 

Karigiri, 6, 9, 69 
Karigtrisa, 6 
Karikala Chdla, 19 
Karnakutas, 150, 157 
Karnataka, 1, 34 
Karthigai , 106 

Karumamkka Perumal shrine, 
15, 46, 148, 151 
Karumdrs (blacksmiths), 116 
Karumbakkam, 139 
Karunakara-Battar, 113 
Karunakara TondaimSn, 13, 
15,* 49 

Katikasurahara, 31 
Kau'sikadvada&i, 81 
Kausikapurdna , 81 

Kaveri basin, 12 
Kaveri-Vallabha, 31 
Keladi, 33 
Kerala, 12, 17 
Keralas, 24 

Kesava Dandanayaka, 18 

Index m 

Kids mb i Nayanar, 74 
Kili-mandapa , 153 
Kirtimukha , 152, 158 
Kodai - utsavam , 104 
Kodakkon Nllagangarayan, 22 
Kodi-kudai-al, 115 
Kodungai, 152 
Kddungu, 153, 154 
Ko/7, 7, 60 
Koil-kanakku , 119 
Koil-kelvi, 6, 112, 122 
Koil-olugu , 63, 79, 80, 111, 
112, 114, 122, 123, 132 
Koil-Sn-Vaishnavas , 132 
Koil-vdrian , 119 
Kolar, 1, 16, 98 
Kolhapur, 13 
Kdlur-Valli Tayar, 176 
Komalavalli Tayar, 176 
Konappachariar, 121 
Konappa Se^iar, 133 
Korujavldu, 27, 28, 32 
Koneri Chetty, 35 
Koppam, 13 

Kdpperunjinga, 17, 18, 20, 21, 
22, 23 
Korris , 135 

Kdti- Kany Tidanam-Lakshmi- 
Kumara Tatacharya, 84 
KoTkanyadanam Tatacharya, 

Kotrapalli, 124 
Kottipalli, 35 
Kovalur, 59 
Krimikaota Chola, 15 
Krishna, 59, 105, 165 
Krishna III, 1, 12 
Krishnadeva Raya, 3, 28, 29, 
30,31, 54,79, 80, 81, 83, 
107, 112, 120, 122, 137, 143, 
149, 154, 157, 165, 179 
Krishnamisra, 71 
Krishnamma. 31 
Krishnaraja Odayar, 139 
Krishna shrme, 49, 51, 148, 

Krishnavatara scenes, 170 
Kudal-Sangamam, 13 
Ku^andai (Kumbakopam), 60 
Kudu(s) t 151, 152, 153, 157 
Kulas^khara, 15, 167, 171 
Kulasekhara I, 24 
Kulottunga, 17 

Kulottunga I, 4, 12, 13, 14, 45, 
47, 49, 56, 131, 137, 139, 
142, 143, 147, 150, 152, 154, 


Kulottunga II, 14, 15, 131 
Kulottunga III, 16, 19, 25, 46, 
52, 65, 98, 111, 112, 119, 
139, 143 

Kulottunga Chola Valanadu, 

Kulottunga-vilagam, 17 
Kumara Dannayaka, 30 
Kumara Kampana, 26 
Kumara Tatacharya, 125 
Kumara Venkatadri, 29 
Kumbakonam, 60, 83, 130 
Kumbha , 151 

Kumbha-panjaras , 153, 157, 


Kunnattur, 30 
Kunrapakkatn swami, 72 
Kuppa Nayakar, 31 
Kurattalvar (Kuresa), 6, 8, 9, 
60, 61,63, 64, 65, 69, 75, 
76, 82, 86,88, 99, 107, 158, 

Kurnool, 33, 80 
Kurukesa, 64, 66, 69 
Kurukur, 99 
Kutais), 150, 154, 158 

Kuvalpura (Kolar), 1, 16, 98 

Lafehmi, 8, 60, 64, 72, 83, 167 
LakshmldBvi, 19 
Lakshmi Kumara Tatacharya 
shrine, 50 

Lala Tocjarmalla, 38, 85, 173 
Land-measures, 141-142 
Land-price, 142 
Later Gangas, 1 
Lay-out and sequence of con- 
struction, 43-57 
Lepakshi, 175, 177, 178 
Linga, 27 

Liquid-measures, 143 
Love scenes, 171-172 


Madai, 139 
Madalai , 148 
Madanna, 36, 38 
Madavtdhis , 2 
Madhvas, 137 __ 

Madhusudan Apatsahayan 
( alias B amachandradeva), 

MadhvSchsrya, 137 
Madhvaguxu, 137 
Madras, 1, 12, 34, 35,36,39, 

Madura, 25. 30 

Madurai, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34, 37, 
43, 168 

Madurakavi-Alvar, 163, 167, 


Madurantakam, 1, 2, 62 
Madurantaka Pottapi Man- 
musiddha, 139 

Madurantaka Pottapi Cholan, 
19, 104 

Madurantaka Pottappichcholar 
Nallasiddharasan, 17 
Madurartaka Pottappicholan 
Tirukkalattideva alias 
Gandagopalan, 19 
Mudurantaka Uttama Chola, 

Madura vijayam , 26 
Magara, 22 
Mahabali, 7 
Mahabalipuram, 2, 7 
Mafcabalivanarayar, 17 
Mahabhdrata , 66 
Mahalakshmi, 79 
Mahamardalika, 15 
Mahamardaleswara Chinna- 
yyadeva Maharaja, 31 
MahUtnandapa , 150, 153, 155, 
156, 159 

Mahanavami, 48 
Mahendramandalam, 17 
Mahesvaras, 122 
Mahratta, 12, 36, 37, 38 
Malaimandalam, 21, 22 
Malai-nadu, 17, 21 
Malapaftu, 3 
Malayala-desa, 21 
Malaysia NSchchiar, 45, 46, 
108, 165 

Malik Kafur, 24 
Mallai, 7, 22, 34, 35 
Mallappa Dan^anayaka, 18 
Mallayya Dandanayaka, 18 
Mallikarjuna, 27 
Mamallapuram, 7 
Manavala Mahamuni, 9, 43, 
54, 55, 56, 60, 67-70, 72, 73- 
76, 77, 79, 80, 83, 86, 88, 99 
106, 163, 167 

Manavala Mahamuni shrine, 

Manavil, 14 
Manavlra, 24 
Mandala~aradanai, 5 

200 Index 

Mandapa(s \ ), 3, 5, 14, 143, 149, 

151, 152, 154, 155, 156, 163, 

Mangalasdsanam, 3 
Manipravala, 66 , 70 
Manmu Siddha I (Nalla Sid- 
dha), 19 

Manma Siddha II Vijaya 
Gandagopala, 20, 23 
Manmu Siddha III, 21 
Maiminadu, 14 

Manrddis , 1 29, 134-135 
Mamcharitamu, 80 
Maravarman Kulasckkara I, 

Maravarman Sundara Pandya, 
16, 51 

Maravarman Sundara Pandya 

I, 17, 21 

Maravarman Sundara Pandya 

II, 17 

Maravarman Vikrama Pandya, 
24 w 

Marudur, 5 

Matangesvara temple, 2, 3 
Matha(s ), 26, 76 
Matli Varadaraju, 30 
Mavandur, 139 
Mayavada , 63 
Mayilai, 22 

Mayilai-Tiruvallikeni, 4 
May on (Vishnu), 59 
Mayura Sarman, 1 
Meivrata-mTlnmiyam, 9 
Melkote, 62, 64, 73, 80,95, 

Mehdram , 140 
Metal workers, 117 
Mir Jummla, 35 
Moors, 34 

Mosalimadugu Vlramaraja, 31 
Mosilanadugu Timmaraja, 31 
Mudal-Xlvars, 97, 106, 167, 

Mudal-alvar shrine, 50, 154 
MudaliSn<lan, 131 
Mudumbai, 82 

Mudumbai Appillai Apnavai- 
yyangar, 82 
Mughals, 12, 35, 36, 37 
Muhammad Bin Tuglak, 25 
Muhammad II, 27, 28 
Muhammad Shah, 28 
Muhammed Ali, 38 

Mukhaman#apa{s)t 149, 151, 

152, 154, 155, 159 

Mukkandi Kaduvettivamsa- 
vatara, 21 

Muktesvara temple, 2, 3 
Mulamantra, 132 
Mulavar , 5, 6 
Mumukshupadi, 69 
Munaiyadirayan, 17 
Mun - tand u-pin-tandu-pidikka- 
ravar ( Kodikdrar ), 115 
Muppidi Nayaka, 24 
Muruga, 59 

Music and art, 136-137 
Muslim invasion, 24-25 
Muthuswami Dikshitar, 103 
Mylapur (Mayilai), 4 
Mysore, 2, 12, 13, 18, 26, 33, 
36, 37, 60, 63 , 65, 72, 84, 
86, 89, 95, 124, 137, 139 
Mysore War (II), 39 


NdbhU 159, 160 
Nadabhavi-utsavam , 101 
Nadadur Alvan, 69 
Nadadur Ammal, 60, 67, 68, 

69, 70, 88, 131 
Nagaladevi, 29 
Nagamalai, 6 
Ndgapadam , 153 
Nagaraja, 32 
Nagarjunakonda, 5, 27 
Naimi-saraynam, 176 
Naimittika, 95 

Naina Varadachariar, 88 
Naina Varadacharya, 67, 68, 



Nallan Chakra varti, 81, 131 
Nalla Siddha, 19, 21 
Nalla Siddharasan, 19, 21 
Nallatambi Danappa, 124 
Nambakkam, 139 
Nammalvar, 47, 50, 61, 64, 66, 

70. 73, 74, 82, 99, 104, 163, 
167, 176, 177 

Nammalvar shrine, 49, 87, 

Nampillai, 72, 88 
Nampillai Periavachan Pillai, 
66, 69 

Nandalur, 20 
Nandavarika, 81 
NaDjlyar, 65, 69 
Nannul , 46 
Nappinnai, 8 
Narada, 9 

Naral&kavira, 14, 47, 52, 56, 
139, 179 

Narapparasayya, 29 
Narasa Nayaka, 28, 29 
(Rayasam) Narasayya, 30 
Narasimha (Nrisimha), 22, 45, 
80, 150, 158, 159, 163, 164, 

Narasimha II, 22, 23 
Narasimha shrine, 12, 14, 15, 
45-46, 113, 147, 150 
Narasinga Battar, 113 
Narasinga Raya, 6 
Narayana, 60, 64 
Narayana Jlyar, 81 
Narayana Seftiar, 133 
Ndsika,‘l50, 152, 153, 155 
Nataraja, 168 

Nathamuni, 63, 64, 75, 82, 83, 
99, 163, 171 
Nathamunigal, 167 
Navalur, 5 

Nayaka(s), 21, 22, 27, 30, 33, 
34, 37, 168 
Nayakanmar, 21 
Nayana Varadachariar, 73 
Nayana Varadacharya ( alias 
Kumara Vedantacharya), 

Nayanm&rs, 4 
Nedungal, 139 
Ncerdli mandapa 3 51 
Nellore, I, 2, 15, 17, 18, 19, 
20, 23, 27, 33 
Nettar, 16, 52, 65 
Nllagangarayan, 22, 139 
Nilathingaltundam temple, 3 
Nine-Thousand , 64, 69 
Nirandhdra, 150 
Nirvacanottara. Rdmayanamu , 

Nitydnusanddnam , 99 
Nitya-puja , 95, 96 
North Arcot, 2, 14, 28, 33, 156 
North India, 63, 65, 87, 176 
North Kalinga, 13 
Nrisimha (see Narasimha) 


Orissa, 14, 22, 27, 28, 139 
Oltakknttan, 14 
Outer courtyard, 54 

P5c[agam temple, 3, 4, 5 
Patfaiparru, 27, 28 

Index 201 

Padaivldu, 27 
Padikam , 4 

Padikaval gopuram , 79 
Padma , 148, 151 
Padma-banda, 151, 152 
Padmanabapuram, 176 
Padma-pitha, 152 
Padmasamhita , 95 
Padmatala , 157 
Paintings, 175-178 
Paiyanur, 139 
Palagai, 148, 152 
Palar (river), ?, 38, 107, 141 
Palaya-Sivaram (bill), 3 
Pa/z, 148 

Pallava(s), 1, 2, 12, 13,21, 150, 

Pallava-kulatilaka, 21 
Pallava temples, 2, 3 
Panaiyur, 5 
Panam , 141 

Panchamatabhanjanam Tata- 
charya, 82 

Panchanadivanan Nilaganga- 
rayan, 22 

Pancha Pandyas, 24 
Pdfichardtra , 61, 88 
Pdncharmra TZgama, 95 
Pafichastavams , 64 
Pandal-erecters, 117 
Pandavaperumal temple, 14, 

Pandava-Thuthar, 7 
Pandimandalam, 23 
Pandya(s), 11, 12, 16, 17, 20, 
23, 24, 26 

Pan<Jyan, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 
21, 23, 24, 139 
Pandyanadu, 23 
Panguni-Pallava utsavam , 108 
Paftjara(s), 150, 154, 157, 158 
Paradhvdti PaUchagam , 69 
Parakala Alagia Smgar, 82, 

Paramesvara Vippagaram, 4 
Parankusa Jlyar, 80, 81 
Paravastu Naynar Ayyangar, 


Paricharakas, 113-114 
Partpadal , 59, 60 
Parivetjai , 107 

Parivrajakacharya Attan Tiru- 
vcnkada Ramanuja Jlyar, 

Paitarpiran Jlyar, 77 
Paitika . , 149, 151, 152, 153, 
‘155, 157, 158 

Pattupdttu ( Ten Idyls), 4, 59 
Paushkara-samhita , 95 
Pavanandi, 16, 46 
Pavitrotsava, 105 
Pavitrotsava mandapa, 47 
P.B. Annangarachariar, 72 
Peddanna, 80 
Peddarasa, 19 
Peddarasar, 17 
Pedda Tirumala-ayyangar, 81 
Penugonda, 32, 33, 83 
Perarulala, 11, 61, 63, 65, 71, 

P erarulalan-korri, 1 35 
Perarulalar, 7, 8 
Peria Jlyar (Manavala Maha- 
muni), 50, 73, 75, 82 
Perialvar, 80, 117, 171 
Perialvar shrine, 52, 154 
Peria-koil, 137 
Perianambi, 61, 62, 63 
Peria-Perumal-dasan, 133 
Periaperumal Nambi, 113 
Peria-piralU, 9 
Periapiraltiar, 48 
Peria Tirumala-ayyangar, 81 
Periatirumalainambi Chakka- 
rayar, 33, 123 

Peria Vachan Pillai, 67, 69, 
72, 88 

Perumal, 108 
Perumal-koil , 1, 60 
Perumpdndnupadai , 4, 59, 60 
Perunagar, 98 
Perundanam, 14 
Perundevi Tayar, 6, 48, 52, 
79, 108, 163, 165 
Perundevi Tayar shrine, 38, 
48-49, 78, 85, 151, 153 
Peruvanian Devan Erinjodi 
{alias Perarulala-dasan), 

Pettarasan, 26 
Pcy Alvars, 59, 106 
Phalaka, 151, 153 
Pillai Lokacharya, 66, 69, 70, 
71, 72, 73, 74, 82, 88, 132 
Pillai L5kam Jlyar, 74 
Pillai-Urangavalli-dasar, 64, 
68, 132 
Pillan, 69 

Pmbalagia-Perumal- Jlyar, 7, 
44, 46, 48, 69 
Pindi , 152 
Place, 124, 179 
Podelle Lingappa, 36 

Pddikai, 148 
Poigai, 4, 50 
Poigai Alvar, 59, 64 
Poigaippakkam (alias Alagia 
Manavalapuram), 78 
Polavi Damjanayaka, 18 
Ponnambalakkuttan, 14 
PoonamalJee (Pundamalli), 34 
Porpandaram , 78 
Porramarai tank, 32, 52 
Portrait sculptures, 172 
Pottapati-Timmaraja, 31 
Pottapi-Chola, 19 
Pottappa Nay aka, 31 
Potters, 117 
Po« u , 31 

Potty Cawn (Fath Khan), 37 
PrabhandamSy 47, 62, 64, 65, 
66, 69, 71, 72, 74, 79, 80, 
88, 132 

Prabhandic school ( see Ten- 

Pradakshina , 150, 155 
Prakala matha , 82 
Prdkdra(s ) , 5, 14, 15, 44, 45, 
49-54, 88, 149-158 
Prapanna , 132 
Prapan amrutamy 82 
Prapannaparijatanty 69 
Prapattiy 64, 65,70, 71,72 
Prasadam, 100, 132 
Prastara, 150, 157 
Prataparudra Deva, 47, 139 
Prataparudradeva II, 21, 24 
PratU 149, 151, 157, 158 
Prativati Bhayankaram, 85, 
88, 131 

Prativati Bhayankaram 
Anantacharya, 179 
Prativati Bhayankaram 
Annan, 72, 73, 74 
Prativati Bhayankaram 
Annangaracharya, 130 
Prativati Bhayankaram 
Rangacharya, 85, 121 
Puduchchcri, 139 
Pudumandapam, 172 
Pujas, 95-100 
Pulicat, 34, 

Pumurtai, 151, 152, 155 
Pumannu padumam , 15 

Pundamalli, 1, 12, 24, 36, 37, 

Punira, 64 

Pmyakdti-vimTinay 9, 123, 149, 
T50, 160, 176 

202 Index 

Purna-kumbhas , 153 
Purarianuru, 59 
Puratf&si , 105 
Purushakara , 60 
Purusha-manikkasettf, 133 
Purus ha Sukta ) 47 
Pushpa-potika , 148, 151, 153 f 
154, 155, 157 
Pushpa-potikai, 150 
Pushpa-marJapa, 7 

Quilon, 27 


Rdhasytrayam , 74 
Rahuttarayan, 21 
Rahuttarayan-Sandi, 21 

Raichur Doab, 28 
Rajadhiraja I, 12, 13, 56, 147 
Rajadhiraja II, 15 
Rajadhiraja Malaiyarayan 
alias DharmaparipalaD, 17 
Rajagambhlram, 26 
Raj agan dagdp al an , 98 
Rajakulam, 108 
Rajamahendra, 13 
Rajamundry, 27, 28 
Rajanarayana Sambuvaraya, 
26, 121 

Raja Odayar, 33 

Rajaparamesvara, 21 
Rajaraja, 13 
Rajaraja 1, 14, 26 
Rajaraja II, 14, 15 
Rajaraja III, 12, 17, 18,19, 
21,22,23,25,48, 98, 119, 
131, 133, 175 
Raja Ram Maharaja, 37 
Rajaramaraju Ayyan, 31 
Raja Todarmalla, 38, 49, 85, 
86, 124, 173 
Rajendra I, 12 
Rajendra II, 13‘ 

Rajendra III, 17, 18, 19, 20, 47 
Rama, 47, 71, 165 
Ramadva, 33 
Ramanakkan, 21 
Raman atha, 18 
Ramanathapuram, 63, 159 

Ramanuja, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 15, 46, 
60, 61, 62-66, 67, 69, 

70, 71, 73, 74, 82, 83, 88, 
97, 99, 107, 112, 130, 131, 
132, 135, 137, 158, 163, 167, 

Ramanuja-bhSsya , 65 
R3mSnuja~danana(m ), 60, 66, 
76, 137 

Ramanuja-Govinda Bittar, 

Ramanuja-kuta(s), 77, 78, 79, 
122, 130, 138 

Ramanuja-Nurrandadi, 74, 99 
Ramanuja Rayanivaru, 86 
Ramanuja shrine, 50, 87 
Ramanuja temple, 87 
Ramaraja, 31 
Ramaraja II, 32 
Ramaraja Chmna Timmaraja, 

Ramaraju Chmna Timmayya- 
deva Maharaja, 31 
Ramaraya, 30, 51 
Ramaraya I, 82 
Rama Rao, 124 
RamTiyana , 66, 82, 168 
Ramayana scenes, 169 
Rameswaram, 17 
Ramya-jamatru-muni, 77 
(Lord) Ranganatha, 13, 26, 
46, 70, 163, 164-165 
Ranganatha shrine, 49, 51-52 
Ranganatha temple, 15 
Rangayyasola Maharaja, 31 
Rashtrakutas, 1, 12 
Ratta country, 12 
Ravivarman Kulasekhara, 24, 
45, 46 

Rayajee tank, 108 
Rayar SitakonDirayar, 141 
Recerla Vasantaraya, 27 
Reddis, 27 

Sadasiva Raya ,30,31, 32, 52, 
53, 77, 102, 106, 122, 139, 

S adat-Ullah-Khan , 37, 38, 


Sadulla Khan Bahadur, 38 
Saduram(s), 148, 150, 151, 153, 

Sailanatha (Tirumalai-nambi), 

Saiva Brahmins, 129 
Saivite(s), 3, 8, 15 
Saivite N'ayanmars, 59 
Sata(s), 149, 150, 152, 154, 157, 

Snlabanjikas , 157, 158 
Salakaraju Tirmuala, 30 

Snla-sikhara , 149, 150, 154, 155 
157, 158, 159 
Saluva Mangu, 26 
Saluva Narasimha, ,28, 30, 77, 
78, 79, 80, 81, 132, 138 
Saluva Nay aka, 29, 30 
Saluva Nayakkar Sellappar, 

Sambaji, 36, 37 
Sambuvarayas, 11, 16, 25, 

Samachaturasra , 155 
Sandhi (special services), 98 
Sandstone, 3 
Sangam, 4, 28, 59 
Sankalpa-Suryodaya, 71 
Sankara, 63 
Sankaradasa, 78 
Sankirtanacharya, 81 
Sannidhi guruparampara , 80 
Sannidhi Srirama Ayyangar, 
84, 123 

Santoji Rau, 36, 37 
Saptati Ratnarri&lika, 73 
Sarvamanya , 138 
Sarvatlrtham, 141 
Satadushini , 71 
Satagopa, 47, 64 
Satagopam, 85 

Satagopa-perumal-dasan, 124 
S’ftthumurai , 105 
Sattada-SrI-Vaishnavas, 78, 
79, 80, 131-132 
Satyamangalam, 71 
Satya Vijaya Tlrtha, 137 
Satyavrata-Mahatmiyam , 9, 51 
Saumya-jamatru-muni, 77 
Sayana-Udaiyar, 26 
Sayyad Muzafar, 37 
Second prUkTZra, 44-45, 150- 

Sellappa, 30, 122 
Sembakdvalli Tayar, 176 
Sembedu, 31 

Senai Mudaliar (Vishvakscna), 
102, 108, 165 
Senainatha, 61 
Sendamangalam, 21 
Sengalinirpatru Sirmai, 31 
Sengeni Ammiappan, 98 
Serakula-nachiar, 108 
Serakulavalli, 46 
Serakulavallinachiar, 165 
Sermadevi, 23 
Sesha, 166 

Index 203 

Setters ( nagarattUr ), 133 
Setti-Rajamanikkattar {alias 
VIranulambhadeviyar), 133 
Seyon (Muruga), 59 
Siddhiraju Sri Rangaraya, 32 
Sikhara, 149,150, 152, 155 
Silappadikaram, 59 
Silpa , 5 
Silpis, 116, 136 
Singa III ( alias Sarvajna), 27 
Singan-murai , 115 
Smgapperumal Dikshitar, 1 13 
Sinhalese, 15 

Siru Tirumala-ayyangar, 81 
Slta, 8 
Siva, 8, 59 

Siva Ekamresvara temple, 122 
Sivaji, 12, 36 

Siva-Kanchi (Big Kahchi), 2, 3 
Sivaram, 3, 107 
Siva temple, 14, 29, 122 
Slyaganga(n), 16, 46, 98 
Smartha (Madhva), ]26 
Solakulavalli, 14 
Salamandalam, 14 
Solasimhapuram, 82 
Soliyadaraiyan, 23 
Somaladevi Mahadevi, 22, 23, 

Somapalli, 175 
Somaraja, 31 
Somesvara, 17, 20, 22, 23 
Sdm&svara I, 13 


South Arcot, 5, 14, 21, 24, 25, 
26, 28, 31 

South India, 1, 5, 11, 12, 16, 
18, 24, 26, 27, 28, 32, 34, 37, 
43, 59,63, 81, 85, 88, 89, 
95, 98, 99, 118, 129, 133, 
135, 136, 138, 169, 179 
Sri (Lakshmi), 8, 60, 61, 68, 
70, 164, 165, 176 
■Sri Bandarattar, 83, 120, 123 
Sri-BUshy a, 61, 63, 65, 66, 
67, 69, 70, 71,73, 74,78 
Sri-Bashya-pravachana, 66 
Sri-Boshya school {see Vada- 

Sri-Bhagarat- Vishya-prava- 
chana , 66 
Sri-churrfa, 86, 87 
SrI-devi, 102, 164 
Srldhara Batfar, 113 
Sri~Jaycmti, 83, 105 

Sri~k arya-Durantara, 83, 122, 
123 ’ 

Sri-karyam, 120, 122-123 
Srikumaran, 21 
Sriman Narayana Jiyar, 80 
Srimushnam, 71 

Srimvasadasa (Allan Jiyar) 
38 ' 

Sn-padam Tangiravar , 115 
(Rayasam) Sripadayya, 179 
(Rayasam) Srlpatayya, 29 
Srlperumbudur, 1, 62, 84 87 
118, 123, 124, 131, 138 
Sri Rama, 70 

Srlranga, 32, 33, 34, 84, 139 
Srlranga 1, 32, 33, 83, 1 23 
Srlranga II, 98 
Srlranga III, 12, 34, 35 
Srirangacharya, 85 
Sriracgam, 2, 7, 13, 15, 16, 24, 
26, 28, 30, 43, 46, 59. 60, 61, 
62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 69, 
70, 71, 72, 73 , 77, 79, 80, 88, 
95, 111, 112, 114, 118, 125, 
130, 131, 132, 138, 156, 164, 
165, 166, 171, 173, 176 
Srirangam Kdil-olugu, 15 
Srirangam Nallan Chakravarti* 

Srlranga Narayana Jiyar, 77 
Sri Ranganatha siotram, 69 
Srlrangapatna, 32, 84 
Srlrangapathnam, 33, 84 
Srirangaraya, 108 
Sri Sailapurnar, 131 
Srisailesa {alias Tiruvaymoli- 
ppillai), 73 

Sri-Sampradaya, 60, 61 
Srl-stuti, 71 

Sri Vachana Bhushana , 69, 70, 

Srl-Vaishnava(s), 7, 8, 28, 44, 
47, 59-89,112-113, 129-131 
Sri-Vaishnavism, growth of, 

Sri Varadarajaswami temple, 
Ranchi — 

and society, 129-144 
architecture, 147-160 
functionaries and history 
of management, 111-126 
iconography, 163-173 
jewellery, 179-180 
lay-out and sequence of 
construction, 43-57 
paintings, 175-178 
pujas and festivals, 95-108 

role in the growth of Sri- 
Vaishnavism, 59-89 
wood carvings, 178-179 
Srivilhputtur, 121, 138, 159 
SrutaprakaUka, 69, 71 
Srutaprakasika Batter, 67, 71 
Stable mardapa , 50-51 
Stalattars , 85, 86, 121, 122, 
123, 124, 126 

St7tnattar{s) } 112, 119, 120-121, 
123, 125 
Stapatis , 136 

Sthalapurana , 5, 6, 8, 9, I0S 
159, 168, 171, 175 
Stupis , 150 
Sucindram, 119 
Sudarsana, 166 
Sudarsana-Ba^tar, 69 
Sudarsana shrine, 12, 52 
Sudikkoduttanachiar (Andal), 
45,77 ’• } 

Sukapakshiyam „ 73 
Sundara Chola, 12 
Sundara Pardya, 24 
Surappa Nayaka, 31 
Surithil, 139 
Sway amp akis, 114 

Tadi, 151 
Takkolam, 2, 12 
Tala , 152, 154, 158 
Talikotta, 30, 32 
Tallapakkam, 81, 82 
Tallapakkam Annamacharya, 

Tamappa, 33 

Tamil country, 2, 12, 17, 18, 
20,24,26,28,29, 32, 33, 
59, 130, 135, 136 

Tamilnad, 6, 11, 12, 16, 22, 
25, 30, 48, 133, 142, 159 
Tammi Bhupati, 33 
Tammu Siddha I, 19 
Tanjaimamapikkoil, 176 
Tanjore, 14 
Tariaradanai , 138 

Tatacharya(s), 33, 56, 82-84, 
86, 89, 99, 123, 124, 126, 

Tatacharya-ayyan, 83 
Tattvatraya , 69 
Tatva- Rain avail, 72 
Tatvatraya-pramUria-tirattu, 74 
Tatvattriyam , 74 
TatvasUram, 69 

204 Index 

Tayar (see Perundcvi Tayar) 
Tayar shrine ( see Perundevi 
Tayar shrine) 

Tetugu-choda(s), 2, 21* 16, 27, 
18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 25, 30 

Telugu country, 32 
Telugu-Pallava, 21 
Temple-car, 178-179 
Temple-gardens, 139-140 
Temple-kitchen, 152-153 
Temple-lands, 138-142 
Ten Idyls , 59 

Tenkalai, 61, 66, 67, 68, 70, 
72, 73, 74-75, 78, 80, 82, 85, 
86, 87, 88, 89, 99, 112, 123, 
124, „125, 126, 130, 131, 

Ten-kurukaipiran-pillan, 64 
Tenneri, 84, 124 
Tepperumal, 9, 27 
Tepperumalnallur, 27, 141 
Teppdtsavam f 108 
Thanjavur, 2, 12, 32, 33, 34, 
36,111,142, 147, 175, 176 

Thepperumal, 8 
Thsradi, 3 
Ther-niminda-Til, 115 
Third prZk'ira , 15, 46-49, 151 

Thotia-utsava , 102 

Thousand-pillared mandapa , , 
47, 152 
Thuppil, 105 

Tikka I (a/fas Aluntikka-Kal- 
atti I a/fos Tirukkalatti- 
deva a/fos Gandagopala), 
19, 20, 21, 98 
Tikkana Sdmayaji, 20 
Tillai, 5 

(Rayasam) Timmakkan, 80 


TIrthaQn ), 85, 89, 121, 131 

Tiru-adyayana , 88 
Tiru-Anantalvar shrine, 46 
Tiru Attiyur Prlyan, 119 
Tiruchanur, 81 
Tiruchirappalli, 2, 25, 27, 28 
Tirukkachi-nambi, 8, 60, 61- 
62, 64, 68, 70, 75, 76, 79, 
80,82, 88, 132, 133, 155, 
158, 168, 171 

Tirukkachi-nambi mandapa , 53 
Tirukkalaindan Bhatta, 30 
Tirukkalattideva, 19 
Tirukkalukunram, 2, 12 

TirukkalyWiam , 106 
Tirukkandiyur, 176 
Tirukkoilur, 5, 176 
Tirukkottiyur, 63, 132 
Tirukkd$pyur-nambi, 63 
Tirukkottiyur temple, 159 
Tirumala, 30, 32 
Tirumalai, 7, 60, 62, 63, 65, 
70, 77,79, 81, 82. 83, 88, 
112, 118, 131, 138, 166, 167, 

Tirumalai Andan, 63 
Tirumalai Anantam Pillai, 

Tirumalai-nambi, 63, 64, 82, 

Tirumalai-olugu, 77, 112, 115 
Tirumala Raya, 79 
Tirumal-irum-solai, 59, 83 
Tirumalisai Alvar, 1, 4,60, 

Tirumalisai shrine, 50, 154 
Tirumandiram > 63 

Tirumangai Alvar, 4, 5, 106, 
167, 171 

Tirumangai Alvar shrine, 50 
Tirumanjanam (holy bath), 97- 



T irumanni valangu, 14 
Tirumaraiyur nadu, 13 
Tirumukku<3al, 2, 139 
Tiru-nlimams , 87, 89 
Tirunarayanapuram, 60, 63, 82 
Tirunelveli, 168, 176 
Tirunirmalai, 84 
Tirupparuttikunram, 159, 175, 
177, 178 

Tirupati, 1, 28, 29, 31, 35, 
73. 75, 77, 78, 79, 80, 85, 
112, 115, 125, 132, 138, 

Tiruppadagam, 7 
Tiruppadagattu-alvar, 7 
Tiruppadiraja, 31 
Tiruppalaivanam, 142 
Tiruppalakkuli, 142 
Tiruppallandu, 80 
Tiruppan-alvar, 70, 78 
Tiruppan shrine, 52, 154, 155 
Tiruppani Pillai, 84 
TiruppVvai , 45, 70, 99, 107 
Tiruppavitra-utsavam , 83 
Tiruppullapi, 84 

Tiruvatji, 14, 24 
Tiruva<Jipuram, 104 
Tiruvadi rajya, 30, 31 
Tiruvadyayana-utsavam , 77, 79, 

Tiruvallikeni, 4 
TiruvandUdi, 4 

T iruvanekatankapadam 
temple, 14 

Tiruvannamalai, 25, 29, 43 
Tiruvarangaperumal Arayar 
(Vararanga), 63 
Tiruvarangattammudanar, 62 
Tiruvarur, 27 
TiruvafSra-utsavam , 101 
Tiruvattiyur, 3, 4, 8, 59 
Tiruvattiyur-Alvar, 7, 56 
T iruvattiy ur-ko rri , 135 
mal, 7 

Tiruvaymoli-perumal Naya- 
nar, 77 

Tiruvaymoli-sirappu, 19 
Tiruvehka temple, 3, 4, 5, 7, 
71, 74, 88, 129 

Tiruvekambamudaya Nayi- 
nar temple, 30 

Tiruvendipuram, 17, 71 
Tiruvengalappar, 81 
Tiruvenkada Ayyangar, 124 
Tiruvida-endai, 7 
Tiruvidaiysttam, 139 

Tiruvikrama, 176 
Tiruvilakku-kdran , 116 
Tiru\oymoli , 47, 50, 64, 66, 67, 
69, 99, 107, 113 
Tiruvdymoli-mrrandZidi, 99 
Todarmal-vdsal , 154 
Tolkappiam, 59 
Ton<laiman, 14, 70 
Tondaimantfalam, 5, 11, 12, 
15, 20, 21, 22.24,25,26, 
27, 28, 35, 71, 134, 142 
Tondara<Jippodi Alvar, 77, 
117, 167 

Tondaradlppo<Ji shrine, 52, 
154, 155 

Tdppu Tirunal , 102 
Tor ana, 148 
Tdtadriyamma, 70 
Tribhuvanachakravarthi Vij- 
aya Gandagdpaladftva, 20, 

Index 205 

Tribhuvanamudaiyal, 14 
Trichinopoly, 37 
Trikalinga, 22, 23 
Tripat ta kumuda, 149, 151 
Triplicate, 138 
Trivattiyur, 7 
Trivikrama, 5 
Tuldbhdra, 123 

Tulabhdra-mandapa(s), 50, 148 
Tuluva, 28, 29 
Tundahanadu, 22 
Tundira, 26 
Tunga, 13 

Tuppakki Krishnappa, 35 
Tuppil, 70 
Twelve-thousand , 64 
Tydga-mandapa, 7 
Tyagaraja, 103 


Ubhaya Vedanta , 78, 137 
Udaiyakamam, 22, 139 
Udayagiri, 26, 27, 28, 32, 33 
Udayarpalayam, 38, 85, 89 
Udumbara, 5 

Ulagalandaperumal temple, 3, 
5, 14 

Ulavukkdni , 141 
Ulogasaranga Mahamuni, 70 
Ummattur, 28 

Uftjal mandapa, 49, 148, 149, 
153, 154 

UpadesaratnamSlai, 67, 74, 

Upturn, 149, 150, 1 51, 152, 

Upanishads, 63 
Upper India, 65, 176 
Oragam temple, 3, 4 
Urdhvapadma , 149 
Ordhvapundra , 86 
Uriyadi , 105 
UttamaChola, 12 
Uttamapandyanallur, 23 
Uttaradimatha, 137 
Uttaravedi , 159-160 
Uttaravedi Alagiyar, 133 
Uttiramerur, 1, 118 
Uttirasolai, 139 

Vadakalai, 66, 67, 68, 71, 72, 
73, 76, 78, 87, 88, 126, 
130, 131, 132 

Vadakku-tiru-vldipillai, 67, 


Vada-Tiruvengada Jlyar, 77, 

79, 81, 105, 112 
Vadibhlkara Srinivasa, 85 
Vahana mandapa. 50, 149, 154, 
156, 163*, 168, 169 
Vaibhavaprakdsika , 78 
Vaikdsi, 124 
Vaikhanasa dgama , 95 
Vaikuntaperumal temple, 2, 

Vairdgya-Panchaka, 71 

Vaishnava(s), 1, 2,3, 5, 6, 7, 

8, 26 

Vaishnava-darsana , 66 

Vaishnavadasa (c/fo,? Brahma- 
tantra Svatantra), 137 
Vaishnavite Alvars, 59 
VaiSyas, 129, 133 
Vnjapeya yaga, 83 
Vallaiya Dandanayaka, 18 
Vallam, 2 

Vanamamalai Jlyar, 74, 75 
Vanamamalai-wai/ra, 76, 130, 

VUnam-sudikkum-fil, 116 
Vandalanjeri, 13 
Vanga-Kaling irayan, 48 
Vangamulyur Udaiyan Arai- 
yan Mummudi-Solan (alias 
Anukkappallavaraiyan), 14 
Van-Sa^agopa Jlyar, 80-81 
Van-Satagopa-mor/w, 76, 81 
Van-Sa^agopapuram, 80 
Varada, 8 

Varadadevi Amman, 29 

(Lord) Varadaraja, 5, 6, 7, 8, 
9, 28, 31, 37, 38, 44, 46, 47, 
48,60,61, 62, 71, 74, 77, 
85, 89, 102, 105, 106, 107, 
108, 139, 160, 163, 164, 176 
Varadardja-PaHchasat , 71, 

100, 103 

VaradarZjastavam , 8, 9, 64, 65, 
100, 107 

Varaha, 164, 165 
Varaha shrine, 49, 51 
Varamtarum perumal , 4 
Varavaramum-Sadakam , 74 
Vdriapperum akkal, 118, 119 
Vdriar, 118 
Varuna, 59 

Vasanta-mandapa , 51, 148 
Vasantaraya, 27 
Vasantha toppu , 52, 102 

Vasudeva Bajtar, 113 
Vatapatrasayi temple, 159 
Vayalaiyarru, 139 
Vcda(s), 71, 95, 108, 113 
Veda-matha, 137 
Vedandrasagara Srlpad, 137 
Vedanta, 62 

Vedanta Dcsika, 6, 9, 51, 60, 
66, 6 7,68,70-73, 88, 100, 
103, 105, 137, 158 
Vedanta Dcsika shrine, 50 
Vedi, 149, 151, 157, 160 
Vegavati (river), 1, 2, 24, 45, 

Vehka, 59, 60 
Velama, 27 
Velamalai, 6 
Vellala, 129 

Vellore, 1,33,34,35, 36, 84, 

Velugoti, 34 
Vendan (Indra), 59 
Vengadam, 59, 60 
Vengi, 13, 14 
Venkata, 30, 139 
Venkata 1, 30, 50 
Venkata II, 32, 33, 34, 83, 84, 
122; 123, 175 

Veakata III (Pedda Venkata), 
33, 34 

(Rayasam) Venkatadri, 31, 35, 

Venkatagiri, 34 
Venkatanatba, 70 

Vcnkatapati, 32 


Venkata Varadacharya, 84 
Venkatesvara, 77, 81 
Venrumankonda Sambuvaraya, 

Vibhishana, 71 
Vidhi-dipa , 14 

Vidw&ns , 136 

Vidyaranya, 70, 71 
Vijaya Gandagopala, 20, 21, 
22, 23, 48, 98, 139 

Vijayanagar, 2, 3, 7, 11, 12, 
25, 26,27, 28,30,32,33, 
34, 35, 60, 71, 76, 79, 80, 
83, 84, 86, 87, 88, 89, 108, 
117, 121, 123, 124, 136, 142, 
143, 144, 148, 150, 151, 152, 
153, 155, 156, 157, 163, 164, 
165, 167, 168, 175 

VmyajiagaT-mandapas, 153* 

206 Index 

Vijaya Raya II, 27 
Vikrama Chola, 4, 14, 15, 19, 
21, 45, 56, 97, 142 
Vikrama Chola I, 148, 150 
alvar, 15 

Vikramaditya, 13 
Vikrama Pandya, 15 
Vikrama solan-ula , 14 
Vilakkoliksil, 105 
Vilakkoliperumal temple, 78 
VimTina , 151 
Vimana-d evatas, 150 
Vindhyan, 23 
Viniydjam-seivar , 1 14-1 1 5 
Vinjamur, 131 
Vinnagar, 59 
Vinnagiram, 60 
Vinnappam-seivfir, 114 
Vinukonda, 27 
Virabhisheka, 20, 23 

Vlra-C h ampar aya ( alias Sam- 
buvaraya), 25 

Vira-Chola, 25 
Vira Gaodagopala, 21 
Vlranarasimha, 16, 17, 22, 28, 

Vira Narasingideva, 19 
Vira Pandya, 15, 16, 24, 48 
Viraperumal Edirili Chola 

Sambuvarayan ( alias Raja- 
raja Sambuvarayan), 25 
Vira Rajendra Choladeva, 143 
Virarajendra I, 13 
Vira Somesvara, 18 
Vira-Vallabadeva, 25 
Virinchipuram, 156 

Viriipaksha, 28, 50 
Virupaksha 1, 26 
Virupaksha II, 27 

Virupaksba-dannayaka, 6, 30, 

78, 141 

Vishnu, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 13, 28, 44, 
46, 59, 60, 86, 87, 150, 152, 
159, 163, 164, 165, 166, 168, 

Vishnu Chittarya, 69 
Vishnudarmottara , 171 
Vishnu-Kanchi (Little 
Kanchi), 2, 3, 8, 21,129, 

133, 134 

Vishnu-Sahasranama, 5, 69 
Vishnu shrine, 31 
Vishnu temple(s), 3, 15, 74, 
75, 81, 84, 86, 97, 100, 122, 
123, 159 

Vishnuvardhana, 13 
Vishnuvardhana Vira Nara- 
simha II, 18 

Visishtadvaita , 60, 62, 63, 64, 
71 ,*72, 82, 88 
Visvakarma, 159 
Visvaksena, 45, 61 
Visva-Pundita, 33, 84, 123 
VirvST.nun/frta-taDDll. 102 

Vikhala temple, 169 
Vritta-kumuda, 150, 151, 152, 
153, 157, 158 
Vyalavari, 151, 152, 158 
Vyasatirtha, 137, 178 


Wandiwash, 34 
Warangal, 17, 24 
Washermen, 117 

West Coast (Goa), 1,21 
Western Chalukyas, 13 
Western Ghats, 33 
Western gdpura, 157 
Wodeyars, 84 
Women, 135 
Wood carvings, 178-179 

Yachama, 33 
Yadava, 24 
Yadavabhyudaya, 71 
Yitiraja-saptati, 71 
Yadavaprakasa, 62, 63 
Yadavaraya, 20 
Yaddktakari , 7 
Yadoktakari temple, 3, 4 
Yadus, 18 
Yajnamurti, 65 
Ycili , 156 

Yamunacharya, 63 
Yamunaithuraivan prakUra , 

Yamuna ithuraivar, 46 
YVpparungalavritti , 4 
Yatidharmasamucchaya, , 63 
Yatindrapravana-prabhUvam % 


Yatiraja-Vimasati , 74 
Yatisailam, 60 
Yedur (Ettur), 84 
Yuan Chuang, 1 

Zulfikar Khan, 37 

N.B. 1 is appearing without diacritics in the Index. 

>»iff f',y 

. | Oi ' 1,1 

Fig 2 Anantasaras tank and the temple complex 



Attan-Jiyar inscription Fig 4 Punyak6?i . v . 

Fig 10 Western Gopura 

Fig 16 Dasaratha and his queens 

Fig 1 8 Vali-Sugriva fight 

.rana scene 

Fig 38 Paintings